Political Eros

  • Anne Muxel
Part of the Europe in Transition: The Nyu European Studies Series book series (EIT)


The chemistry of love remains an enigma although attempts to explain it abound. Biology, sociology, and even psychoanalysis have established that the extent of chance and freedom in the choice of the beloved is more limited than one might have believed. There appear to be reasons for elective affinities, and attraction obeys personal and social laws that can be explicitly identified. There are many possible factors to explain why one falls in love: one of them is the role played by the apocrine gland and phenylethylamine in sexual attraction, another is the role played by the habitus that characterizes each person’s identity, and the social background in which individuals develop; another possible factor is the psychological and affective structures forged in childhood that may or may not be latent or conscious. But whatever the contributing factor it would be simplistic to reduce the role played by chemistry to a simple causality. What happens when a person falls in love? How can “love at first sight” be accounted for?


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    Marie-Noelle Schurmans and Lorraine Dominicé, Le Coup de Foudre Amoureux, Essai de Sociologie Comprehensive (Paris: PUF, 1997).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Nature America Inc. 2014

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  • Anne Muxel

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