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Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism 1st Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0745639055
ISBN-10: 0745639054
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Editorial Reviews


“Well written, conceptually rich, and a welcome addition to the critical literature on emotion. It stands in juxtaposition to the dominant psychological models of emotion that have been unreflectively and uncritically reproduced, especially in organizational behaviour texts.”
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, and Giddens."
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

Book Description

This book dispels some conventionally received ideas: namely, that capitalism has created an a-emotional world dominated by bureaucratic rationality; that economic behavior conflicts with intimate, authentic relationships; that the public and private spheres are irremediably opposed to each other; and that true love is opposed to calculation and to self- interest.This book 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. More: this book 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. " Emotional capitalism has been carried through one major social group: clinical psychologists. Throughout the twentieth century, psychology increasingly put emotions at the centerstage of the public arena, of our relationship to our own self, and to others. Academia, movies, self-help literature, women's magazines, talk shows, support groups, for-profit workshops, and the professional practice of therapy have become mobilized to make us, men and women, primarily concerned with and defined by our emotions. How did this happen? What are the social consequences of such widespread preoccupation with emotions? How does it change the way in which we express suffering? This book addresses these questions and offers a new interpretation of the reasons why the public sphere is saturated with the spectacle of private emotions and why so many people define their identity in terms of psychic suffering.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Polity; 1 edition (January 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0745639054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0745639055
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Malvin VINE VOICE on March 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Cold Intimacies" by Eva Illouz introduces a highly original, profound and provocative theory about how emotional and economic forces have found common interest in creating what she calls "emotional capitalism." The book is composed of three lectures that Ms. Illouz prepared for a series of presentations made at the Adorno Lectures in Frankfurt, Germany. The author's scholarly credentials are evident both in how she creates a very compelling argument and in her selective use of supporting documents; although somewhat densely written, the book's progression rewards the patient and studious reader with a number of invaluable insights and discoveries about contemporary society.

The first lecture recounts the history behind the rise of 'homo sentimentalis'. Ms. Illouz contends that the emotional style of the 20th century was shaped by the wide dissemination of Freudian theory in popular literature and the scientific management and human relations disciplines of Fordist America. Interestingly, Ms. Illouz believes that as communications skills became increasingly important to family and workplace, gender roles were slowly and subtly transformed with greater emphasis on the feminine traits of listening and cooperation. Eventually, this dynamic gave impetus to the feminist movement of the 1970s which in turn helped to codify the therapeutic regime into an array of publicly-funded family, mental and health services that we often take for granted today.

The second lecture describes how the creation of 'emotional capital' has fed myriad opportunities to the entrepreneurial class. For example, Ms. Illouz discusses the pervasiveness of the self-help movement in the mass media in the form of popular programs such as Oprah Winfrey's. Ms.
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11 of 37 people found the following review helpful By C. F. Denig on May 14, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is essentially Arlie Hochschild translated via Bourdieu and Foucault, without citing Hochschild.

The Managed Heart
The Second Shift
The Commercialization of Care

Do NOT read this.
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