Love as an Ideology: The Reflections on "Sexual Crisis" in Aleksandra Kollontai's Writing.

Zhuravskaya, Gustava (1998). Love as an Ideology: The Reflections on "Sexual Crisis" in Aleksandra Kollontai's Writing. MPhil thesis The Open University.



The dissertation considers the manner in which A. Kollontai's writing became preoccupied with love and sexual matters. The choice of love (rather than sexuality) as a central topic for the present dissertation meant to suggest the extent to which the discussion on love served in the years leading up to 1917 and a decade after it as a sign of the speaker's rapport with an ideal community. By analysing love, Kollontai was engaged in the process of defining the border between public and private life of individual, deciding where the autonomy stops and collective existence begins, and questioning the modes of attachment that make personal and collective. The word "love" is meant to encompass two different terms: love "in the broad sense" (as an agent of the transformation of society) and "in the sense of relationships between the sexes". Chapter I discusses Kollontai's concept of Eros against the backdrop of her time and the theory and praxis of love in the tum-of-the-century Russian culture. To highlight the hierarchy and connection between love "in the broad sense” and "in the sense of relationships between the sexes", the attention is paid to the status of family (or couple as an isolated union) in relations to community (political authority), articulating and implementing the public intervention in the relations between the sexes and her perception of the distinction between private and public space. The second purpose is to pursue how sexual behaviour was constituted in socialist thought oriented to the construction of the new social order. The second chapter follows the interconnection between radical reconsideration of the role which love should play in women's life and Kollontai's variant of the concept of New Woman.

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