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Saving the Modern Soul

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Saving the Modern Soul

Therapy, Emotions, and the Culture of Self-Help



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Saving the Modern Soul: Therapy, Emotions, and the Culture of Self-Help by Eva Illouz
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The language of psychology is all-pervasive in American culture--from The Sopranos to Oprah, from the abundance of self-help books to the private consulting room, and from the support group to the magazine advice column. Saving the Modern Soul examines the profound impact of therapeutic discourse on our lives and on our contemporary notions of identity. Eva Illouz plumbs today's particular cultural moment to understand how and why psychology has secured its place at the core of modern identity. She examines a wide range of sources to show how self-help culture has transformed contemporary emotional life and how therapy complicates individuals' lives even as it claims to dissect their emotional experiences and heal trauma.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 1. Introduction Cultural Sociology and the Therapeutic Therapy as a New Emotional Style Texts and Contexts Cultural Critique and Psychology 2. Freud: ACultural Innovator Psychoanalysis as a Charismatic Enterprise The Social Organization of Freudian Charisma Freud in America The Freudian Cultural Matrix The Romance of Psychology and Popular Culture Conclusion 3. From Homo economicus to Homo communicans Emotional Control in the Sociology of Organizations The Power of Control and the Control of Power Psychologists Enter the Market ANew Emotional Style Emotional Control The Communicative Ethic as the Spirit of the Corporation Emotional, Moral, and Professional Competence Conclusion 4. The Tyranny of Intimacy Intimacy: An Increasingly Cold Haven Beyond Their Will? Psychologists and Marriage What Feminism and Psychology Have in Common Intimacy: ANew Emotional Imagination Communicative Rationality in the Bedroom Toward the Ideology of Pure Emotion The Cooling of Passion Conclusion 5. Triumphant Suffering Why Therapy Triumphed The Therapeutic Narrative of Selfhood Performing the Self through Therapy ANarrative in Action Conclusion 6. ANew Emotional Stratification? The Rise of Emotional Competence Emotional Intelligence and Its Antecedents The Global Therapeutic Habitus and the New Man Intimacy as a Social Good Conclusion 7. Conclusion: Institutional Pragmatism in the Study of Culture Notes Index

Author Biography

Eva Illouz is a professor of sociology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a member of the Center for the Study of Rationality. She is also the Academic Director of the Program in Cultural Studies. She is the author of Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism (UC Press; honorable mention, Outstanding Contribution Award, American Sociological Association, 2000); The Culture of Capitalism (in hebrew); Oprah Winfrey and the Glamour of Misery: An Essay on Popular Culture (Best Book Award, American Sociological Association, 2005); and Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism.
Release date Australia
March 4th, 2008
Country of Publication
United States
University of California Press
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