• La culture occidentale n'a cessé de représenter les manières dont l'amour fait miraculeusement irruption dans la vie des hommes et des femmes. Pourtant, cette culture qui a tant à dire sur la naissance de l'amour est beaucoup moins prolixe lorsqu'il s'agit des moments, non moins mystérieux, où l'on évite de tomber amoureux, où l'on devient indifférent à celui ou celle qui nous tenait éveillé la nuit, où l'on cesse d'aimer. Ce silence est d'autant plus étonnant que le nombre des ruptures qui jalonnent une vie est considérable.
    C'est à l'expérience des multiples formes du " désamour " que ce livre profond et original est consacré. Eva Illouz explore l'ensemble des façons qu'ont les relations d'avorter à peine commencées, de se dissoudre faute d'engagement, d'aboutir à une séparation ou un divorce, et qu'elle désigne comme des " relations négatives ".
    L'amour semble aujourd'hui marqué par la liberté de ne pas choisir et de se désengager. Quel est le prix de cette liberté et qui le paye ? C'est tout l'enjeu de cet ouvrage appelé à faire date, et qui prouve que la sociologie, non moins que la psychologie, a beaucoup à nous apprendre sur le désarroi qui règne dans nos vies privées.
    Eva Illouz est directrice d'études à l'EHESS. Elle est notamment l'auteure de Pourquoi l'amour fait mal et des Sentiments du capitalisme, publiés aux Éditions du Seuil, et récemment de Happycratie.
    Traduit de l'anglais par Sophie Renaut.

  • Aimer quelqu'un qui ne veut pas s'engager, être déprimé après une séparation, revenir seul d'un rendez-vous galant, s'ennuyer avec celui ou celle qui nous faisait rêver, se disputer au quotidien : tout le monde a fait dans sa vie l'expérience de la souffrance amoureuse. Cette souffrance est trop souvent analysée dans des termes psychologiques qui font porter aux individus leur passé, leur famille, la responsabilité de leur misère amoureuse.
    Dans ce livre, Eva Illouz change radicalement de perspective et propose une lecture sociologique de la souffrance amoureuse en analysant l'amour comme une institution sociale de la modernité. À partir de nombreux témoignages, d'exemples issus de la littérature et de la culture populaire, elle dresse le portrait de l'individu contemporain et de son rapport à l'amour, de son fantasme d'autonomie et d'épanouissement personnel, ainsi que des pathologies qui lui sont associées : incapacité à choisir, refus de s'engager, évaluation permanente de soi et du partenaire, psychologisation à l'extrême des rapports amoureux, tyrannie de l'industrie de la mode et de la beauté, marchandisation de la rencontre (Internet, sites de rencontre), etc. Tout cela dessine une économie émotionnelle et sexuelle propre à la modernité qui laisse l'individu désemparé, pris entre une hyper-émotivité paralysante et un cadre social qui tend à standardiser, dépassionner et rationaliser les relations amoureuses.
    Un grand livre de sciences sociales sur le destin de l'amour dans les sociétés modernes.
    Eva Illouz est professeure de sociologie à la Hebrew University de Jérusalem. Elle est l'auteure de nombreux livres, traduits en une quinzaine de langues, parmi lesquels Les Sentiments du capitalisme, paru aux Éditions du Seuil en 2006.

  • La trilogie Cinquante nuances de Grey connaît un succès phénoménal. Comment comprendre cet engouement planétaire pour une romance érotique mettant en scène l'initiation sadomasochiste d'une jeune ingénue par un séducteur richissime qui finit par épouser sa soumise ? Suffit-il d'invoquer le caractère osé du livre et ses ficelles narratives ou d'ironiser sur la popularité naissante d'une pornographie pour mères de famille ?
    Dans la lignée de Pourquoi l'amour fait mal, c'est une tout autre lecture, autrement subtile et troublante, qu'Eva Illouz propose dans cet ouvrage. Considérant les best-sellers comme un baromètre des valeurs, elle montre que, dans cette bluette SM, le jeu de la soumission et de l'autonomie, de la souffrance et de l'épanouissement sexuel, de l'assignation des rôles et de la confusion des identités entre en résonance avec les apories contemporaines des relations entre hommes et femmes. Si cette histoire semble procurer à ses lectrices un tel plaisir, c'est qu'elle formule allégoriquement les contradictions émotionnelles et sentimentales qu'elles éprouvent et que, à la manière des guides de développement personnel, elle s'avise de leur prodiguer d'audacieux conseils pour les résoudre.
    Professeure de sociologie à la Hebrew University de Jérusalem, Eva Illouz a notamment publié Les Sentiments du capitalisme et Pourquoi l'amour fait mal (Seuil, 2006 et 2012).

  • Why Love Hurts

    Eva Illouz

    • Polity
    • 20 Mai 2013

    Few of us have been spared the agonies of intimate relationships. They come in many shapes: loving a man or a woman who will not commit to us, being heartbroken when we're abandoned by a lover, engaging in Sisyphean internet searches, coming back lonely from bars, parties, or blind dates, feeling bored in a relationship that is so much less than we had envisaged - these are only some of the ways in which the search for love is a difficult and often painful experience. Despite the widespread and almost collective character of these experiences, our culture insists they are the result of faulty or insufficiently mature psyches. For many, the Freudian idea that the family designs the pattern of an individual's erotic career has been the main explanation for why and how we fail to find or sustain love. Psychoanalysis and popular psychology have succeeded spectacularly in convincing us that individuals bear responsibility for the misery of their romantic and erotic lives. The purpose of this book is to change our way of thinking about what is wrong in modern relationships. The problem is not dysfunctional childhoods or insufficiently self-aware psyches, but rather the institutional forces shaping how we love. The argument of this book is that the modern romantic experience is shaped by a fundamental transformation in the ecology and architecture of romantic choice. The samples from which men and women choose a partner, the modes of evaluating prospective partners, the very importance of choice and autonomy and what people imagine to be the spectrum of their choices: all these aspects of choice have transformed the very core of the will, how we want a partner, the sense of worth bestowed by relationships, and the organization of desire. This book does to love what Marx did to commodities: it shows that it is shaped by social relations and institutions and that it circulates in a marketplace of unequal actors.

  • Cold Intimacies

    Eva Illouz

    • Polity
    • 23 Avril 2013

    It is commonly assumed that capitalism has created an a-emotional world dominated by bureaucratic rationality; that economic behavior conflicts with intimate, authentic relationships; that the public and private spheres are irremediably opposed to each other; and that true love is opposed to calculation and self-interest.
    Eva Illouz rejects these conventional ideas and argues that the culture of capitalism has fostered an intensely emotional culture in the workplace, in the family, and in our own relationship to ourselves. She argues that economic relations have become deeply emotional, while close, intimate relationships have become increasingly defined by economic and political models of bargaining, exchange, and equity. This dual process by which emotional and economic relationships come to define and shape each other is called emotional capitalism. Illouz finds evidence of this process of emotional capitalism in various social sites: self-help literature, women's magazines, talk shows, support groups, and the Internet dating sites. How did this happen? What are the social consequences of the current preoccupation with emotions? How did the public sphere become saturated with the exposure of private life? Why does suffering occupy a central place in contemporary identity? How has emotional capitalism transformed our romantic choices and experiences? Building on and revising the intellectual legacy of critical theory, this book addresses these questions and offers a new interpretation of the reasons why the public and the private, the economic and the emotional spheres have become inextricably intertwined.

  • The End of Love Nouv.

    The End of Love

    Eva Illouz

    • Polity
    • 15 Septembre 2021

    Western culture has endlessly represented the ways in which love miraculously erupts in people's lives, the mythical moment in which one knows someone is destined for us, the feverish waiting for a phone call or an email, the thrill that runs down our spine at the mere thought of him or her. Yet, a culture that has so much to say about love is virtually silent on the no less mysterious moments when we avoid falling in love, where we fall out of love, when the one who kept us awake at night now leaves us indifferent, or when we hurry away from those who excited us a few months or even a few hours before. In The End of Love, Eva Illouz documents the multifarious ways in which relationships end. She argues that if modern love was once marked by the freedom to enter sexual and emotional bonds according to one's will and choice, contemporary love has now become characterized by practices of non-choice, the freedom to withdraw from relationships. Illouz dubs this process by which relationships fade, evaporate, dissolve, and break down "unloving." While sociology has classically focused on the formation of social bonds, The End of Love makes a powerful case for studying why and how social bonds collapse and dissolve. Particularly striking is the role that capitalism plays in practices of non-choice and "unloving." The unmaking of social bonds, she argues, is connected to contemporary capitalism which is characterized by practices of non-commitment and non-choice, practices that enable the quick withdrawal from a transaction and the quick realignment of prices and the breaking of loyalties. Unloving and non-choice have in turn a profound impact on society and economics as they explain why people may be having fewer children, increasingly living alone, and having less sex. The End of Love presents a profound and original analysis of the effects of capitalism and consumer culture on personal relationships and of what the dissolution of personal relationships means for capitalism.

  • The imperative of happiness dictates the conduct and direction of our lives. There is no escape from the tyranny of positivity.  But is happiness the supreme good that all of us should pursue? So says a new breed of so-called happiness experts, with positive psychologists, happiness economists and self-development gurus at the forefront. With the support of influential institutions and multinational corporations, these self-proclaimed experts now tell us what governmental policies to apply, what educational interventions to make and what changes we must undertake in order to lead more successful, more meaningful and healthier lives. With a healthy scepticism, this book documents the powerful social impact of the science and industry of happiness, arguing that the neoliberal alliance between psychologists, economists and self-development gurus has given rise to a new and oppressive form of government and control in which happiness has been woven into the very fabric of power.

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