Discuss the influence of culture on romantic relationships Psychologists have found differences between western and non-western cultures in relationships. There are voluntary and non-voluntary relationships. Voluntary relationships are most common in western culture as you’d expect; due to urban settings and east geographical & social mobility, so interaction with others occurs on a much greater scale. Leading to a higher degree of choice of partners. In non- western cultures however it is found that there are more non-voluntary relationships.
This is due to less cities and less mobility, so less choice of people to interact with. In this setting relationships are usually ties to family or economic resources. In these cases culture seems to have an influence on the relationships formed where they live dictates how many people are available for them to form a relationship with. But tradition may play a bigger role in non-western cultures. Epstein found non- voluntary/arranged marriages seem to work and found low divorce rates, and partners state they have fallen in love’.
In addition, people living in non-western cultures still have arranged marriages, so perhaps culture doesn’t have that much of an influence of romantic relationships. Myers et al studied Indian arranged marriages, and no difference was reported in marriage satisfaction when compared to US non-arranged marriages. Guppy and Sings assessed 50 married couples, half arranged marriage and half love marriages. They were assessed on how much they liked or loved each other. They found love is higher in first stage of ‘love marriage’ but this decreases over time, and vice versa.
This suggest that relationships based on romantic love aren’t always most fruitful. Mammogram et al believed that western cultures tend to have relationships that are individualist, voluntary and temporary, whilst non-western cultures tend to have relationships that are collectivist, involuntary and permanent. However no research was done by Mammogram to support this. On the contrary Isaiah & White studied women in China, and found that those who married for love felt more satisfaction in their marriage then those in arranged marriages.
So freedom of mate choice appeared to promote marital stability rather than instability. This suggesting that western cultures may have more successful romantic relationships. Has compared Chinese and North American societies, from this he found Chinese regard heritage and ancestry as important and IEEE change with suspicion. From this Has concluded collectivist cultures are more likely to have permanent relationships. Whereas American culture put great emphasis on progress and change is seen as inevitable and important.
So western cultures are more likely to have temporary relationships. The non-western shift towards choice is relatively recent. Western divorce rate have only increased in recent years, so perhaps stability may be related to mobility. This indicating that the significant cleavage may not be western [non-western or individualistic/collectivist, but rather urban/non-urban. In which case dimming down the influence of culture divorced rates following rapid arbitration; this is in support of the idea culture might not have such a major influence.
It has been suggested that the norms and rules of romantic relationships differ from culture to culture and this has an influence of the formation and success of these relationships. Ting Tommy found that in individualistic cultures reciprocity is voluntary but in collectivist cultures it is seen as more obligatory. In these cultures failure to return the favor would be a failure of moral duty. The Japanese have specific rules for gift-giving and reciprocating.
If these norms weren’t followed in these collectivist cultures it could lead to breakdown of family ties, so is very important in non-western culture relationships, however in western cultures it would have less of an impact on the romantic relationship. Broader-Enzyme found a strong link between Jewish commitment and disapproval of divorce so divorce would be frowned upon in Jewish culture so the marriage is more likely to be permanent. Whereas in other cultures (western in particular) divorce is may be more widely accepted. The evolutionary approach suggests that love is universal.
Pinker views love as a human universal adaptation that has evolved to promote survival and reproduction in humans. On the whole, people in western cultures marry for love, but people in other cultures may marry for other reasons such as; financial support or family connections, for example, Sure women wear lip plates of varying sizes which indicate how many cattle her family expect to receive for her marriage. In this case the marriage is for gain. Thus going against the evolutionary approach. Janitorial and Fischer argue love is universal and culture has title influence on romantic relationships.
They studied non-western societies and found clear evidence of romantic love in 90% of the 166 cultures studied. It suggests love is still present across all cultures. But they do not rule out that culture does still have an influence of romantic relationships, but simply point to love being present and supporting the evolutionary approach. However studies like Janitorial and Fisher’s and Guppy and Sing’s study ignore individual differences. Also no one can define love, so their conclusions may differ to those of others. So their study is weakened. Moore and Lung tested whether love is a western concept.
They compared Anglo-Australian students with Chinese-Australian students and found that 61% of the Anglo-Australians were in romantic relationships compared to only 38% of the Chinese-Australian students. This suggests support for cultures have influence on romantic relationships; in the Chinese culture relationships outside of marriage are more frowned upon, however it was also found that both groups had a positive view of romance. This suggests that, again there are cultural differences between the two, but love and romance are also important to non-western cultures.
The evolutionary approach can be applied to this as it suggests humans evolved to love and because it is present across cultures this is evidence for evolution. But the evolutionary approach is reductionism in that it reduces all romantic behavior down to the adaptive desire to reproduce and does not take into account the ideas of any other approach e. G. Biological. After assessing research done into this topic, it is clear that cultures do have an influence on romantic relationships; it is evident that in Chinese cultures romantic relationships are formed based on tradition and family IIS.
Also other non-western cultures are restricted as to whom they can marry, cultures the choice is free to the individual and they can choose whoever they please, in most cases regardless of background and parent approval. In contrary in non- western cultures people may marry for wealth. Studies such as the Isaiah and White are gender bias; they only focus on women, therefore the results cannot be generalized towards male opinions. Also the research done by Broader-Enzyme is only applicable to Jewish culture and can’t be generalized to the Chinese culture for example and vice versa.