Affective Individualism

Affective Individualism Sociology Definition

Definition

Affective individualism refers to establishing marriages via personal choice based on love and sexual attraction rather than traditions, economic, cultural, or political considerations.

Explanation

Lawrence Stone and other social historians argue that the family structure in 18th-century Britain underwent a fundamental transformation that later spread internationally. In the early society, families used to be firmly ingrained in larger communities and extended kinship networks, and the nuclear family was not the main focus of its members’ emotional bonds.

Sex was a source of pleasure and fresh recruits. Marriage itself contributed to the fact that choosing a mate frequently involved political and economic considerations above romantic bonds. 

The family’s size and social duties decreased due to industrialization. Close emotional relationships, home privacy, and the deliberate training of children for expressive rather than instrumental purposes define the modern domesticated nuclear family. Affective individualism, defined as the link of personal attraction between free-acting people, embodies the essence of more enormous transformations. It is called affective because emotional attachment replaces more practical and prosaic reasons. 

The idea can be criticized for exaggerating the magnitude of change and for too closely linking it with specific reasons, as is always the case with such extensive attempts to capture the essence of a great event.

Affective individualism does, however, represent a proper distinction between families in the contemporary west and those in either feudal Europe or many non-industrialized regions.

Affective individualism impacted how individuals saw authority, thought and felt as the defining mentality of contemporary civilization. The ethos of relationships now designated as “personal life” was replaced by awareness and expression of individuality, autonomy rights, and emotional and intimate connection. 

The emerging eighteenth-century family valued sexual pleasure and privacy and had an intensified affective attachment at the nuclear core. It also placed a strong emphasis on pursuing one’s happiness.

The emerging, eighteenth-century family valued sexual pleasure and privacy and had an intensified affective attachment at the nuclear core.” It also placed a strong emphasis on pursuing one’s happiness.

Affective individualism was disseminated among the upper bourgeois and squirearchy of the eighteenth century by a combination of economic, political, and psychological forces.

Calvinism and the Renaissance spread self-awareness, while Protestantism increased the emerging individualism in Christian theology and challenged the patriarchal authority of husbands. Capitalist markets and libertarianism strengthened secularism, rationality, and autonomy. The end of patriarchy and strict parenting emancipated affection.

Example

When two people meet through friends, they bond over shared interests and mutual attraction. When both people feel comfortable, they get married.

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