Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (Google eBook)

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University of California Press, Apr 29, 1997 - Capitalism - 371 pages
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To what extent are our most romantic moments determined by the portrayal of love in film and on TV? Is a walk on a moonlit beach a moment of perfect romance or simply a simulation of the familiar ideal seen again and again on billboards and movie screens? In her unique study of American love in the twentieth century, Eva Illouz unravels the mass of images that define our ideas of love and romance, revealing that the experience of "true" love is deeply embedded in the experience of consumer capitalism. Illouz studies how individual conceptions of love overlap with the world of cliches and images she calls the "Romantic Utopia." This utopia lives in the collective imagination of the nation and is built on images that unite amorous and economic activities in the rituals of dating, lovemaking, and marriage. Since the early 1900s, advertisers have tied the purchase of beauty products, sports cars, diet drinks, and snack foods to success in love and happiness. Illouz reveals that, ultimately, every cliche of romance from an intimate dinner to a dozen red roses is constructed by advertising and media images that preach a democratic ethos of consumption: material goods and happiness are available to all. Engaging and witty, Illouz's study begins with readings of ads, songs, films, and other public representations of romance and concludes with individual interviews in order to analyze the ways in which mass messages are internalized. Combining extensive historical research, interviews, and postmodern social theory, Illouz brings an impressive scholarship to her fascinating portrait of love in America.
  

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Contents

Conclusion
181
Reason within Passion
187
Charting the Heart
190
Passion within Reason Reason within Passion
192
The Uncertainties of the Heart
196
The Science of Love
198
Therapeutic Discourse as Reflexive Discourse
201
The Reasons for Passion
208

Alone in Public
54
Dating and the Spirit of Consumerism
66
Conclusion
76
From the Romantic Utopia to the American Dream
81
You Could Be Here Now
83
Such a Natural Love
91
Romance as Invisible Affluence
95
Codes Are Getting Tired
101
Conclusion
110
An AllConsuming Love
112
Reenchanting the World
113
A Consuming Romance
120
The Luxury of Romance
132
Travel Nature and Romance
137
Romance as Liminality
142
Ideology or Utopia?
145
Conclusion
151
Real Fictions and Fictional Realities
153
Love at First Sight
157
Realist Love
160
Reality as Fiction
166
Fiction as Reality
170
A Postmodern Romantic Condition
172
Agapic and Erosic Love
211
a Very Reasonable Madness
215
Socioeconomic Boundaries
220
Moral and Personality Boundaries
227
Educational and Cultural Boundaries
230
I Talk Therefore You Love Me
232
Love for Free
240
Conclusion
245
The Class of Love
247
The Elementary Forms of Romance
249
Love as Difference
251
Love and Symbolic Domination
265
Class Romance and the Structure of Everyday Life
268
Conclusion
285
A Happy Ending?
288
A Few Words About Methods
297
Questionnaire
304
Images of Romance
312
Notes
317
References
345
Index
365
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About the author (1997)

Eva Illouz is a professor of sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of the Center for the Study of Rationality. She is also the Academic Director of the Program in Cultural Studies. She is the author of "Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism" (UC Press; honorable mention, Outstanding Contribution Award, American Sociological Association, 2000); The Culture of Capitalism (in hebrew); "Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture" (Best Book Award, American Sociological Association, 2005); and "Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism.

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