Consuming the Romantic Utopia

Consuming the Romantic Utopia

Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism

eBook - 1997
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University of California Press
"Illouz creates a map of the intricate relationship between love and economics in American society. In an analytical style reminiscent of that of Daniel Bell in its scope and intellectual ambition, she argues that romantic love captures our minds and hearts by promising transgression through consumption of leisure and nature."--Michelle Lamont, author of Money, Morals, and Manners

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 clichés 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 cliché of romancefrom an intimate dinner to a dozen red rosesis 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.


Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, 1997
ISBN: 9780585054261
0585054266
9780520917996
0520917995
0520205715
0520202759
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xv, 371 p.) : ill

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