science of love

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Department of History of Science, School of Medicine, University of Granada, Granada, Spain

During the most oppressive decades of National-Catholicism imposed by the  Franco regime, scientific and medical expertise and knowledge were used to promote a particular form of heterosexual love that supported patriarchal normativity and notions of femininity. This ‘science of love’ represents two dispositifs of feminization that circulated through a range of scientific and medical knowledges (e.g. eugenics, ethology, physiology, neurosciences and psychiatry). It not only supported the internal coherence of science and medicine, but also supported particular forms of knowledge within the cultural context of National-Catholicism. Although the science of love was
inspired by particular notions of romantic love, it was also contested by the daily and practical experiences of women. Different women in Franco’s Spain deployed marginalized and subaltern knowledges as they orchestrated an emotional knowledge that was more emancipatory and useful for everyday amorous preoccupations and wellbeing than the one in medical and psychiatric texts. Women’s discussions of love represented a key site and source of knowledge, an authentic repository of imaginative ideas that are also useful for the present to challenge patriarchal norms.


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