Freitag, 29. Oktober 2010

Eva Illouz über erotic capital - Interview

Mit ihren mittlerweile zu Standardwerken der feministischen Ökonomiekritik avancierten Texten „Konsum der Romantik“ (2003) und „Gefühle in Zeiten des Kapitalismus“ (2004) erteilte Eva Illouz der Vorstellung, frau könne vor dem kalten Kapitalismus in der romantischen Liebe Zuflucht finden, eine klare Absage. In Ihrem Vortrag „Committment phobia & the new architecture of choice“ sprach die Soziologin heute Vormittag in ihrer key-lecture über die Veränderung des Liebesmarktes in den letzten hundert Jahren. Nach dem Vortrag traf Elisabeth R. Hager sie zu einem kurzen Gespräch in englischer Sprache.

von Elisabeth R. Hager

Missy Magazine: This congress is entitled „The Flexible Sex. Gender, Happiness and Crisis in the Global Economy“. Isn‘t it an interesting fact that a sociologist who works on the emotional effects of the economic system is asked to give the key lecture for such a conference? How important are personal emotions for our debate about the development of gender in the global economy?

Illouz: Well, my thesis is, that emotions have played a considerable role, shaping for example, the workplace. Increasingly, management has become very much aware of it‘s emotional style and emotional effects. So that‘s where you can say that emotions are important to the modern economy. Also because psychologists and organization counselors have tried to engineer a rude way of managing by using and constantly manipulating the workers emotions. The other way in which emotion is absolutely fundamental to consumer culture is that emotion has become a part of the way in which we brand goods. We want to create emotional associations with goods. Thus the capitalist economy in it´s whole is very much defined by creating emotions and manipulating emotions in the economic field.

Missy Magazine: Your speech circled around the question of the architecture of choice in love relations in postmodern societies. During your speech I had to think of the lyrics of that old song: “love is a battlefield”. Is there a slight chance to just have a relationship without these tensions you described?

Illouz: What do you mean by these tensions? Most tensions are historically specific. For example this complaint that women have about men who will not commit to them emotionally is something did not exist in this form during the 18th and 19th century. The tensions just change their nature and shape, but I don‘t think they ever disappear.

Missy Magazine: During your speech I also had the impression you did not question the categories „men“ and „women“ at all. What does the category „gender“ mean for your scientific work?

Illouz: Yes. Gender is very important, but I didn‘t use it, because I analyze mostly peoples conceptions of themselves and others. But obviously, if I offer the idea that masculinity changed drastically from the 19th to the 20th century then it means that I believe in the category „gender“. For me gender is a resolved issue. It‘s nothing I have to argue about.

Missy Magazine: For many people in my age you were the first scientific voice to destroy the illusion that the cold, impersonal economical system surrounding us has a warm, friendly antagonist pole: romantic love. You destroyed that myth by showing how our emotions are instrumentalised in the capitalist system. Do you consider yourself a pioneer?

Illouz: A pioneer? Oh, no! I mean, let me see... Great writers? Just think of Marcel Proust. He destroyed it for us in a far more disturbing way! Or Flaubert: Madame Bovary, it‘s just horrible! What Flaubert did to Emma is much more cruel! But I‘m air to Flaubert, that‘s right. I‘m a daughter of Flaubert. (lacht)

Thank you.