Eva Illouz'S Concept of Emotional Capitalism

In the modern world, it is a fallacy of every individual that capitalism has led to the development of an emotional world that is dominated by bureaucratic rationality; it is surprisingly assumed that authentic relationships are at conflict with an individual’s economic behavior. Every human believes that the private and community spheres are constantly lacking the effort to be incongruent with each other. However, Eva Illouz, in her book ‘the making of capitalism’ rejects these conventions.  The fact that people tend to attribute true love as antagonizing to self-interest and calculation is also strongly opposed by the author in this publication. The research paper is an exploration of the alternative perspective given by the author in contrast to the common belief.  The opposing views and their significance will be highlighted in the paper (Illouz, 2008).

Eva Illouz view of capitalism

In her book, she claims that the culture of capitalism has influenced lives positively. Areas that she quotes to be affected by the capitalism culture include fostering of economic culture in workplaces, individual relationship to ourselves and among the families (Illouz, 2008). The claims that economic relations have turned to be more emotional than decades ago. In her publication, she maintains that political and economic models of bargaining, equity and exchange have turned to be the determinants of our intimate relationships. From the two concepts in which economic and emotional relationships shape and define each other, the derivative ‘emotional capitalism’ is achieved.

The research carried by the professor aims at various themes in conjunction with emotions, culture and accommodation study. She majors her research on the ways capitalism has transformed the emotional patterns of individuals especially in the realms of both production and consumption. In her first book, consuming the romantic utopia, she discusses romance commodification and the romanticization of commodities. With her referring to a wide sample of advertising images, women’s magazines and movies, she gets the idea behind cinematic and advertising culture, that is, presentation of products as the vector for emotional experiences and to be specific (romance experience). Commodities were being displayed as enablers of love and romance experience; they included: watches, diamonds, soaps, refrigerators, and cosmetics only to mention a few.

In the other process (commodification of romance), it is a 19th-century process that involved calling on a female counterpart; it was however replaced by dating as she reports.  It entails moving out and enjoying (consuming) the influential leisure industry (DaCosta & Illouz, 1998). From her perspective, the romantic encounters have transformed from home to the consumer leisure world; making the quest for love (romantic) a vector for leisure goods consumption making industries of leisure develop. She creates a distinction between current and the 19th-century view of love, and the rationalized (trading of individuals of potential mates on the market). Reading the profiles of potential dates is compared to conducting a shopping for the fitting product.

Cold intimacies and saving the modern soul

She continues to figure out how emotions contribute to the economic production realm. She bases her argument on the state of the American corporation from the 1920s, onwards.  Eva Illouz, claims that in the American corporation emotions turned to be conscious objects of knowledge and construction from the 1920s onwards, furthermore it became closely associated with the language and methods of economic efficiency, she claims that emotion is not an action as we might tend to think, she states that it is however an inner energy that helps us perform an action. It is what gives coloration to an act (Illouz, 2007).

To well display the inter-relationship between emotions and the economic realm, she dictates about the American corporations employed psychologists to increase the productivity of the institutions and simultaneously managing the workforce.  The incorporation of psychologists helped intertwine emotional aspect with the economical realm in the manner of a new way of embracing the process of production. According to Eva Illouz, emotions have been mobilized actively whether it is in the production or consumption field.  She claims that economic forces have significantly helped in the mobilization of emotions by soliciting and shaping them to the preferred algorithm. This has made people in the modern world more become simultaneously emotional and economic actors (Illouz, 2008).


In conclusion, Illouz creates a reliable review of how relationships should be understood in the capitalist world.  The manner in which she makes her assessment of the matter at hand is promising. With her concisely putting every concept, it is easier to deduce the manner in which she trails in her writing; it makes understanding the issue being addressed more easier since she does not project huge claims or digress from the essence of the matter. The text is a turning point to the way we think of ourselves as intimate and relating beings. Through the reading an analysis is offered about how the dating sites grew; and the clear understanding about the historical sense of self, and more importantly, she offers us various ways of understanding our love prospects in market standings.

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Eva Illouz'S Concept of Emotional Capitalism. (2018, Sep 23). Retrieved April 12, 2024 , from

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