“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
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.