Media and the Therapeutic Ethos of Romantic Love in Middle-Class Nairobi

Rachel Spronk

in Love in Africa

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print June 2009 | ISBN: 9780226113524
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226113555 | DOI:
Media and the Therapeutic Ethos of Romantic Love in Middle-Class Nairobi

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This chapter argues that media provide young people in Nairobi with the tools to envision and forge new kinds of intimate relations. It concentrates on how young professionals consciously seek lessons about love and relationships from magazines and films, and from premarital counseling classes offered by middle-class churches. Representations of love and sexuality provide models for a new kind of individuated subject that feed into young professionals' search for alternative forms of gender relations. The media's foregrounding of personal narratives highlights how middle class Nairobians have shifted away from interpreting marriages as familial unions. Many young professional men are responsive, in various degrees, to therapeutic discourse. Young professional women and men are engaged in a joint project because of their distinctive position in society.

Keywords: media; Nairobi; young professionals; love; premarital counseling; sexuality; middle class Nairobians; marriages; therapeutic discourse

Chapter.  9527 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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