Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism
February 2007, Polity
Eva Illouz rejects these conventional ideas and argues that the culture of capitalism has fostered an intensely emotional culture in the workplace, in the family, and in our own relationship to ourselves. She argues that economic relations have become deeply emotional, while close, intimate relationships have become increasingly defined by economic and political models of bargaining, exchange, and equity. This dual process by which emotional and economic relationships come to define and shape each other is called emotional capitalism. Illouz finds evidence of this process of emotional capitalism in various social sites: self-help literature, women's magazines, talk shows, support groups, and the Internet dating sites. How did this happen? What are the social consequences of the current preoccupation with emotions? How did the public sphere become saturated with the exposure of private life? Why does suffering occupy a central place in contemporary identity? How has emotional capitalism transformed our romantic choices and experiences? Building on and revising the intellectual legacy of critical theory, this book addresses these questions and offers a new interpretation of the reasons why the public and the private, the economic and the emotional spheres have become inextricably intertwined.
1 The Rise of Homo Sentimentalis 1
Freud and the Clark lectures 5
A new emotional style 16
The communicative ethic as the spirit of the corporation 18
The roses and thorns of the modern family 24
2 Suffering, Emotional Fields, and Emotional Capital 40
The self-realization narrative 43
Emotional fields, emotional habitus 62
The pragmatics of psychology 67
3 Romantic Webs 74
Romancing the Internet 75
Virtual meetings 76
Ontological self-presentation 79
Fantasy and disappointment 95
Conclusion: A new Machiavellian move 108
- This new book by the influential rising star of Sociology of
Culture explores the topical subject of the role of emotions in
contemporary capitalist society.
- This book deals with popular cultural phenomena such as self
help literature, support groups and talk shows and asks how this
has occurred and what are the social consequences.
- This highly topical and well written book offers a new
interpretation of the reasons why the public sphere is saturated
with the spectacles of private emotions and why so many people
define their identity in terms of psychic suffering.
- The author’s previous book on Oprah Winfrey won the American Sociology Association ‘Best Book Award.’
British Journal of Sociology
"Illuminates the contemporary expansion of therapeutic models of
self and relationships into all aspects of life."
Meghan Falvey, Modern Painters
"Once again, Eva Illouz demonstrates that she is a true heir to
the rich intellectual tradition of the Frankfurt School. Taking on
the exploration of the important territory where public culture and
private consciousness connect, Illouz brilliantly develops the
concepts of emotional capital and emotional competence. This
elegantly concise book will take its place alongside -- and engage
in provocative conversation with -- the work of Bourdieu, Foucault,
Larry Gross, University of Southern California
"In a tour de force of intellectual and cultural history, Eva
Illouz traces the entry of intimate emotions into what many
thinkers have interpreted as the desiccating, rationalizing
discourse and practice of capitalism. She opens our eyes to the
large impact of therapeutic and feminist viewpoints on prevailing
interpretations of economic life."
Viviana A. Zelizer, Princeton University