Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism – by Eva Illouz[Reading report] by Céline Peudenier


The author was part of the "Alternative Management" third year program in HEC Paris in 2007/2008.

In this book, Eva Illouz analyses the making of “emotional capitalism”. Capitalism is traditionally considered as a cold system, with rational agents taking carefully thought-out decisions. This economic, capitalist and rather “masculine” sphere is opposed to a private sphere, more “feminine”, a world of feelings, emotions, irrationality and spontaneity. The author disagrees with this vision. On the contrary, she shows that the diffusion of psychological discourse, in particular, has blurred the line between these two worlds, thus creating the so-called “emotional capitalism”. In facts, the requirement of emotional intelligence and the introduction of psychological tests have entered the firm whereas psychological “ideology” was asking us to analyse our feelings, master our emotions, rationalize our behaviours, leading us to adopt in the private sphere “economic” behaviour such as profit and loss analysis, bargaining about feelings, self-marketing…

Quote article  Céline Peudenier, « Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism – by Eva Illouz », 14 may 2008, Alternative Management Observatory (AMO), [Reading report]

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