The recent growth of interest in emotions among anthropologists has strong parallels among sociologists, who have since around 1975 devoted increasing attention to the study of emotions. In point of fact, the American Sociological Association (ASA) now has a "section" on emotions that sponsored its first two thematic sessions at the ASA's 1987 annual meeting (Wellencamp, 1993). A seminal text detailing research issues in this field is Theodore D. Kemper's (1990) Research Agendas in the Sociology of Emotions. In this text, Michael Hammond proclaimed that "the sociology of emotions can produce models as grand as any in the history of social theory (in Kemper, 1990, p. 58)." Similarly, Randall Collins noted that:
Emotion potentially occupies a crucial position
in general sociological theory. As we attempt to
be more precise and more empirical about sociological
concepts, we find that many of the most important
rest to a considerable extent upon emotional
processes (in Kemper, 1990, p. 27).
This brief report will examine a specific aspect of the sociology of emotions -- that of dealing with love, in which Kemper (1990) is certainly prescient in noting that elements of power and status are omnipresent.
Alexander (1995) has noted that Kemper (1990) theorized that there are relations between behavior and testosterone based on the premise that social factors determine biological events which, in turn, have social effects (a socio-bio-social theory). Such concepts are of significance in that reciprocal relationships between emotions in general and love in particular and behavior directly influence such sociological phenomena as marriage and divorce, parenting and childcare, rank and status, and power relationships between intimate partners. Divorce rates in the United States, as elsewhere in the Western world, continue to rise. The U.S. Bureau of the Census reported that for every 1,000 individuals who liv...