The negotiation of patriarchy: intimacy, friendship and duty

Katie Barclay

in Love, Intimacy and Power

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780719084904
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702598 | DOI:
The negotiation of patriarchy: intimacy, friendship and duty

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This chapter focuses on the changing ideas around the nature of the marital relationship, relating to obedience, duty, friendship and, finally, domesticity, to explore the practice of intimacy within marriage from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century. Intimacy within modern society is increasingly understood to be a mechanism for reducing inequalities of power within romantic relationships. As scholars argue, modern intimacy is about two individuals being able to interest and stimulate each other, enabling them to grow as people, with the recognition that they may not be able to fully meet the needs of each other. Moreover, intimacy in the modern imagination is meant to dissolve power that stands in the way of closeness and personal development, promoting the needs of the individual and thereby allowing them greater freedom of expression of those needs and of their desires. In many senses, it mirrors classical ideas of higher friendship based on equality, choice, complementarity, mutual esteem and the possibility of reciprocal education.

Keywords: negotiation of patriarchy; modern intimacy; friendship and duty; romantic relationships

Chapter.  10548 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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