The Relationship Between the Transformation of Romance and Intimacy and the Marriage Crisis—Based on David R. Shumway’s Modern Love: Romance, Intimacy, and the Marriage Crisis
Focusing on David R. Shumway’s Modern Love (2003), this paper examined developments of modern love in the 20th century based on correlations between transformation of romance and intimacy and the marriage crisis. His book is an overview of study that summarizes the topography of cultural texts on love and relationships in the 20th century based on a mixed dialectic method of romance research focusing on text analysis and theories of cultural sociology on the transformation of romance.
In order to examine the transformation of romance and intimacy discourse in the 20th century caused by the marriage crisis, Shumway built his research method using sociology theories, such as Foucault, Giddens, and Luman. Based on this, the narrative method, in which romance and intimacy discourse was embodied in the text, was defined as a love story and a relationship story, respectively, and then a clear look at developments of modern love in the 20th century. When a dating system appeared in the early 20th century, relationship stories, such as dating manuals and screwball comedy, appeared, but love stories, such as Hollywood classic romances aimed at romantic love were the mainstream. On the other hand, in the wake of the women’s movement and feminism in the 1960s and 1970s, relationship stories, such as relationship movies and marriage novels, increased overwhelmingly in the late 20th century. Despite an advantage of a clear summary of the first half of the 20th century, this dichotomous analysis tends to simplify the reality of intimacy in the second half of the 20th century by overlooking the risks and ambivalence of liberation of the second individualization process.
Now, amid the collapse of the modern marriage system and the emergence of various types of families, the romance of romantic love has weakened, and the era of intimacy aimed at equal relationships has begun. Accordingly, research on intimacy is also expanding beyond a personal relationship to an intimate community or a crossing point between healthy intimacy and publicity. In this context, Shumway’s research has value and significance in suggesting the direction of the study of romance and intimacy.