Love Changes Everything: The Transformative Potential of Popular Romantic Fiction

Publication year
Studies in the Education of Adults

This paper [...] reports the findings of research examining the impact of a curriculum featuring popular romantic fiction. Romances were studied by groups of mature women students taking a cultural studies module within an Access to Higher Education (HE) programme, a preparatory course for adults without formal HE entry qualifications in the UK. The paper discusses their changing perceptions of themselves and their worlds, records their increasing consciousness of the gendered nature of their experiences and expectations and considers the impact this had on their lives and relationships. (109-110)

It reports the students’ realisation that romantic discourses infused most of the cultural products they encountered and shaped their own accounts of their lives. It notes their increasingly complex understanding of the interaction between social and personal power in heterosexual relationships and discusses the impact this had on their perceptions of their own relationships. (110-111)

Jarvis appears to have used more findings from the same group in a 2003 paper (Jarvis, Christine A.), which complements this one.