Aaron Ben-Ze'ev and Ruhama Goussinsky
In The Name of Love: Romantic ideology and its victims
(Oxford University Press, 2008).


Book Description
Provides insights into the nature of love, and explains the prevailing concept of loving relationships - Romantic Ideology.
Looks at the difficulties faced by lovers in current society, and coping with its various implications. Discusses the future of marriage and the prospect of long-term romantic relationships.
Explores wife murder, enabling a better understanding of this phenomenon, and how its incidence can be reduced.
Examines the possibilities of phenomena such as loving two people at the same time, hating the one you love, and violating romantic norms.
Provides profound and unique analyses of the positive and negative aspects of romantic love.

We yearn to experience the idealized love depicted in so many novels, movies, poems, and popular songs. Ironically, it is the idealization of love that arms it with its destructive power. Popular media consistently remind us that love is all we need, but statistics concerning the rate of depression and suicides after divorce or romantic break up remind us what might happened if "all that we need" is taken away. This book is about our ideals of love, our actual experiences of love - the disparity between the two, and how we cope with this disparity.

A major study case of the book concerns men who have murdered their wives or partners allegedly out of love. It is estimated that over 30% of all female murder victims in the United States die at the hands of a former or present spouse or boyfriend. How can murdering a loved one flow from the assumed moral and altruistic emotion of love? The authors contend that not only is love intrinsically ambivalent, but it can also give rise to dangerous consequences. Some of the worst evils have been committed in the name of love (as in the name of God).

A unique collaboration between a leading philosopher in the field of emotions and a social scientist, In the Name of Love presents fascinating insights into romantic love and its future in modern society.

Contents: Introduction -"I want to know what love is"; Romantic ideology - "If you love someone"; Love at breaking point - "What have I got to do to make you love me?"; The ambivalent nature of romantic love - "What is this thing called love?"; Understanding wife killing - "See you at the bitter end"; Boundaries of the possible - "Never give up on a good thing"; Structural difficulties in romantic love - "Hard times for lovers"; Romantic compromises and accommodations - "You've got to take the bitter with the sweet"; The nurturing approach to love - "We walk in the dream, but dream no more".

Reviews
"There have been quite a few books on love recently - we're talking romantic love, erotic love, passionate love - and some have been very good. This book by Aaron Ben-Ze'ev and Ruhama Goussinsky may be the best yet. It starts with the longings that so many people experience, it acknowledges the altruism of love, and it takes in interviews with men who murdered their wives. This perceptive, beautifully written, and fascinating book will make you think."
Keith Oatley, Department of Psychology University of Toronto

"Were we lied to by our love songs? Philosopher Aaron Ben-Zeev and Goussinsky
look at the contemporary beliefs about romantic love that saturate our poems, movies, books, and minds; then they show us the true face of this intoxicating, yet extreme, sometimes even murderous, emotion. Their aims: to revise our basic attitudes about this primordial feeling; to reveal its power and its danger; and to offer a new approach to understanding, getting, and giving love. Its educated, realistic, and smart."
Helen Fisher Research Professor, Department of Anthropology, Rutgers University

"The authors have stripped bare the paradoxes at the heart of our ideals of romantic love. They begin by showing that wife-killers talk just like saccharine pop tunes about love eternal, and that their crime is more than the unfortunate effect of escalating passion. Instead, murder in the name of love stems from a kind of fundamentalism in the ideology of love. This is a shockingly fresh take on an ancient topic, and it makes for a fascinating read. In a time when the possibility of enduring romantic relationships has deteriorated, In the Name of Love offers a novel account of the ideology of romantic love, its surprising staying power, and the prospects for its recuperation."
Ronald de Sousa, Department of Philosophy, University of Toronto
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