1st Edition

Emotions as Commodities Capitalism, Consumption and Authenticity

Edited By Eva Illouz Copyright 2018
    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    234 Pages
    by Routledge

    Capitalism has made rationality into a pervasive feature of human action and yet, far from heralding a loss of emotionality, capitalist culture has been accompanied with an unprecedented intensification of emotional life. This raises the question: how could we have become increasingly rationalized and more intensely emotional? 

    Emotions as Commodities offers a simple hypothesis: that consumer acts and emotional life have become closely and inseparably intertwined with each other, each one defining and enabling the other. Commodities facilitate the experience of emotions, and so emotions are converted into commodities. The contributors of this volume present the co-production of emotions and commodities as a new type of commodity that has gone unseen and unanalyzed by theories of consumption – emodity. Indeed, this innovative book explores how emodity includes atmospherical or mood-producing commodities, relation-marking commodities and mental commodities, all of which the purpose it is to change and improve the self.

    Analysing a variety of modern day situations such as emotional management through music, creation of urban sexual atmospheres and emotional transformation through psychotherapy, Emotions as Commodities will appeal to scholars, postgraduate students and postdoctoral researchers interested in fields such as Sociology, Cultural Studies, Marketing, Anthropology and Consumer Studies.

    Introduction: Emodities or the Making of Emotional Commodities

    Eva Illouz

    Part I: Liberating the Self: Emotional Experiences and Moods

    "It is All Included - Without the Stress": Exploring the Production of Relaxation in Club Med Seaside Resorts

    Yaara Benger Alaluf

    Emotional Ear Drops: the Music Industry and Technologies of Emotional Management

    Ori Schwarz

    Cinema as an Emotional Commodity- the Horror Genre and the Commodification of Fear

    Daniel Gilon

    Sex cards in Tel Aviv: Mood work, Recreational Sexuality and Urban atmospheres

    Dana Kaplan

    Part II: Ideal of Intimacy: Relational Emotions

    Understanding Authenticity in Commercial Sentiment: The Greeting Card as Emotional Commodity

    Emily West

    Part III: The Ideal of Mental Health and Self-Improvement: Emotional Self-Monitoring as Commodity

    (Ex)changing Feelings: On the Commodification of Emotions in Psychotherapy

    Mattan Shachak

    "Psytizens", or the Construction of Happy Individuals in Neoliberal Societies

    Edgar Cabanas

    Toward a Post Normative Critique of Emotional Authenticity: Conclusion

    Eva Illouz


    Eva Illouz is Rose Isaacs Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel and Directrice d'Etudes at the EHESS, Paris.

    Eva Illouz, one of sociology’s most innovative thinkers, brings together an engaging group of scholars to explore the complex relations between our consumption practices and the world of emotion. Framed by Illouz’ theoretical vision, Emotions as Commodities takes us into a varied tour that includes Club Med resorts, Israeli sex cards, greeting cards, psychotherapy and more. The book contributes to the sociology of consumption markets but its insights will also appeal to a general audience.

    Viviana A. Zelizer is Lloyd Cotsen ’50 Professor of Sociology at Princeton University. She is the author of Economic Lives: How Culture Shapes the Economy.  

    Through intriguing theoretical discussions and fascinating empirical case studies, this book throws new light on the paradox of contemporary capitalism furthering both increased rationalization and an unprecedented intensification of emotional life. A must read for sociologists, marketing scholars and anyone interested in contemporary consumer capitalism, a culture ever more centered on emotional commodities or ‘emodities’.

    Adam Arvidsson, Associate Professor, Department of Social and Political Sciences, University of Milano, Italy