SOC118: Love Struck or Love Sick?


As SZA likes to croon, “LoOOOoovvveeeee, long as we got loooovvVVEEeee.” And that’s this week’s topic! In this episode we explore what happens in our brains when we are struck with love, how sociologists like Charles Cooley and Theodore Kemper see love, and how love can be used as a tool of social control. To better understand this intense emotion, we also discuss Georg Simmel’s important concept of the Dyad. Do you agree with sociology’s view of love? Tune in to hear our discussion!

P.S. Happy consumerist Valentine’s Day, everyone! Xoxo– The Social Breakdown Crew


love, relationships, dyads


1. Biography of Georg Simmel

2. “Dyads and Triads” by Georg Simmel (1950) from The Sociology of Georg Simmel

Dyads are marked with: 

Triviality which “connotes a certain measure of frequency, of the consciousness that a content of life is repeated, while the value of this content depends on its very opposite– a certain measure of rarity” (p. 125).

Intimacy– Trivial acts lead to feelings of intimacy between the dyad, and “is based on what each of the two participants gives or shows only to the one other person and to nobody else” (p. 126). Simmel writes that it is these displays that make an intimate relationship, so “intimacy is not based on the content of the relationship” (p. 127).

3. Love and the Brain” from Harvard University’s Neurobiology Dep

4. Rihanna’s song “Love on the Brain”

5. Charles Cooley’s (1922) “The Social Self” in Human Nature and the Social Order

6. Erich Fromm’s (1955) The Sane Society

Love is union with somebody, or something, outside oneself, under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one’s own self.”

“In the experience of love lies the only answer to being human, lies sanity.”

7. Victor Seidler (1998) article called, “Masculinity, Violence and Emotional Life” in the book Emotions in Social Life

“We know how easily declarations of love can operate as forms of control within intimate relationships, as if the declaration is itself supposed to make the issues and conflicts disappear. Love can operate as a form of control. The words can be hollow and empty because they have become a ritualized response.”

8. Commodification of Valentine’s Day example: On Valentines Day we spend $19.7 billion on heart-shaped nick-nacks!

9. Doxxing Ajit Pai, the Chairman of the FCC who pushed for the dismantling of Net Neutrality