Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural by Eva Illouz

By Eva Illouz

To what volume are our so much romantic moments made up our minds by way of the portrayal of affection in movie and on television? Is a stroll on a moonlit seashore a second of ideal romance or just a simulation of the ordinary perfect visible many times on billboards and picture monitors? In her distinctive examine of yank love within the 20th century, Eva Illouz unravels the mass of pictures that outline our rules of affection and romance, revealing that the adventure of "true" love is deeply embedded within the adventure of client capitalism. Illouz experiences how person conceptions of affection overlap with the area of clichés and pictures she calls the "Romantic Utopia." This utopia lives within the collective mind's eye of the kingdom and is equipped on pictures that unite amorous and fiscal actions within the rituals of relationship, lovemaking, and marriage.
Since the early 1900s, advertisers have tied the acquisition of good looks items, activities vehicles, vitamin beverages, and snack meals to luck in love and happiness. Illouz finds that, eventually, each cliché of romance—from an intimate dinner to a dozen purple roses—is developed via advertisements and media pictures that pontificate a democratic ethos of intake: fabric items and happiness can be found to all.
Engaging and witty, Illouz's examine starts with readings of advertisements, songs, motion pictures, and different public representations of romance and concludes with person interviews which will research the ways that mass messages are internalized. Combining broad historic study, interviews, and postmodern social idea, Illouz brings a magnificent scholarship to her attention-grabbing portrait of affection in America.
"Illouz creates a map of the difficult dating among love and economics in American society. In an analytical kind akin to that of Daniel Bell in its scope and highbrow ambition, she argues that romantic love captures our minds and hearts through promising transgression via intake of rest and nature."—Michelle Lamont, writer of cash, Morals, and Manners

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Extra info for Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism

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41 This strategy is motivated by a simple observation, namely, that cultural representations and subjects' cultural knowledge lack the coherence, the homogeneity, or the self-reflexive character of theoretical thought and that they are instead heterogeneous, fragmented, inconsistent, and many-faceted. Culture makes available a number of discourses, many contradicting one another, from which people draw at different times and in different circumstances to make sense of different aspects of their romantic experience.

Contrary to my expectations, these pleasures did not have the unruly Dionysian character postulated for postmodern experiences. Instead, they displayed the highly ordered Apollonian aspect of religious rituals. Thus the romantic disorder presumably brought about by the postmodern sphere of consumption is paradoxically mediated by socially binding and ordered rituals. The third feature characteristic of postmodern regimes of representation concerns the blurring of the boundary between the real and its representation.

Consider the following ad copy: "Magnetic, 36 When Romance Met the Market mysterious, the subtle fragrance wove its irresistible spell" (1930 ad in Photoplay); "More enthralling than mere beauty" (1930 perfume ad in Photoplay); "Beauty is Romance" (1930 ad for beauty cream in Photoplay); "Can a woman change a man's idea of her personality? A subtle, delicious fragrance worked this magic for me" (1930 ad for perfume in Photoplay). The beauty-romance link was extended to cover the desire for self-expression, and the new nexus of beauty, self-expression, and romance was in turn fostered by the culture of consumption.

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