Love as Passion: The Codification of Intimacy

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Stanford University Press, 1998 - Psychology - 247 pages
"I believe that Luhmann is the only true genius in the social sciences alive today. By this, I mean that not only is he smart, extremely productive, and amazingly erudite, though all this is true enough, but also that he has, in the course of an improbable career, elaborated a theory of the social that completely reinvents sociology and destroys its most cherished dogmas." So wrote Stephen Fuchs in his Contemporary Sociology review of Luhmann's major theoretical work, Social Systems (Stanford, 1995). In this volume, Luhmann analyzes the evolution of love in Western Europe from the seventeenth century to the present.


"Luhmann's unique, monumental, theory-building effort is best described as a consistent attempt to deploy the tools and the inspirations of three strategies: modern information theory, structuralism, and evolutionary theory. . . . Perhaps nothing conveys more poignantly Luhmann's unusual blend of scientific precision with artistic sensibility than his replacement of Parson's 'reciprocity of perspective' with his own 'interpersonal interpenetration.' The first is cool, calculating, cognitive, and dispassionate; the second connotes a richness of relationship that leaves no human faculty unmoved. . . . Luhmann's work is important because, arguably, it comes closer than all other sociological strategies to restoring the lost link between academically reputable social theorizing and the subjective experience of life." --American Journal of Sociology

"There is a dearth of analytical writing about the emotions and sentiments that seem to motivate most human action, at least in everyday discussion, although some researchers are making some efforts to remedy this situation. Luhmann's Love as Passion is an outstanding contribution to this emerging trend . . . full of novel information and fascinating ideas." --Contemporary Sociology



Preface to the English Edition
Personal and Impersonal Relationships
Love as a Generalized Symbolic Medium
The Evolution of Communicative Capacities
The Evolution of the Semantics of Love
Freedom to Love
The Rhetoric of Excess and the Experience
From Galantry to Friendship
Plaisir and Amour
Love versus Reason
What Now? Problems and Alternatives
Love as a System of Interpenetration
The Incorporation of Sexuality

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About the author (1998)

Niklas Luhmann is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Bielefeld.

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