Eva Illouz

Eva Illouz has forged a global reputation as one of the world’s most exciting sociologists through her cutting-edge work on the nature of emotion, intimacy and love in modern societies. Formerly Professor of Sociology at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, she is now Director of Studies at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris. Rejecting the idea that capitalism is underpinned by a cold, bureaucratic rationality, she argues that it has an intrinsic emotional character and that capitalist societies are increasingly characterized by the commodification of intimate relationships and the presentation of the world of exchange and markets in ever more emotional terms, which she illustrates by analysing self-help literature, internet dating sites and women’s magazines. She has also applied this perspective to love, showing how relations of power and choice shape our choice of romantic partner. These themes are at the heart of her Polity books Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism and Why Love Hurts.