Romantic Love and Anthropology

       What is romantic love? Love is unconditional, love is blind, love is pain, love is mysterious, but is there an ideal form of love? Westerners come to believe that romantic love is a mutual attraction to one another. The Western ideal of romantic love is spreading across the world, but at the same time people believe that romance is losing its prestige due to post-modern thinking. Mr. Lindholm’s argument is that “romantic love is neither universal, nor is a Western institution”. According to anthropologist Charles Lindholm, love comes in various forms depending on the social conditions. Romantic love takes a different presence in several cultures and a different intake in Western society.
       Can romantic love be found everywhere and how does one understand it? Westerners take for granted the importance of falling in love. Songs, movies, and stories of our western culture describe our emotions of discovering love. Romance infiltrates our lives and it animates and motivates us in seeking our dream of love. The ideal of romance has gained international attention. Adolescents from the Middle East, Asia, and African regions are rejecting arranged marriages, instead hoping to find a romantic love. From this point of view the culture of romantic love is an illusion and romantic love can only be a western belief. While others believe that love is a form of lust envisioned to a gullible public and that love has decreased due to individualism.

Citations:  Charles Lindholm, Etnofoor, Vol. 19, No. 1, Romantic Love (2006) pp.5-21