chapter
29 Pages

Introduction

Emodities or the making of emotional commodities
ByEva Illouz

Catherine Townsend, the sex columnist for the Independent, has abundantly documented the dilemmas of modern sexuality through her weekly autobiographical stories. Rationality is a feature of cognitive thinking, which usually demands an orientation to long-term planning, approaches the world systematically, and evaluates objects in the world by comparing them to each other and/or according to their suitability to one's self-interest. Since the 1970s and most decisively since the 1990s, capitalism has been increasingly defined in non-materialist terms. "Cognitive capitalism" designates new modes of accumulation centered on knowledge and technology, with more flexible work, more horizontal structures of labor, which uses collective intelligence systems, and virtual rather than physical objects. More recently yet, capitalism has been re-described as aesthetic capitalism, with a more resolute emphasis on consumption. Emodities do not emerge full-blown, but rather only after a process that is heavily mediated by cultural and moral ideals, such as those of happiness, intimacy, self-realization, and mental health.