Ambivalence and Attachment: Some Final Reflections

  • Akane Kanai


This chapter concludes with some reflections on relatability as an affective relation that may be situated within the context of emotional capitalism (Illouz in Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism. Polity Press, Cambridge, 2007) and the injunctions to other ‘positive’ affects in neoliberal culture such as confidence and empathy. Following scholarship on transformations in labour in neoliberal culture, relatability may be seen as part of the breakdown of boundaries between work and leisure, requiring work to be invested in a future-oriented self at all times. In a continuation of ‘women’s work’ that has traditionally blurred distinctions between public and private spheres, young women are required to affectively balance and work on feelings and experiences in the extraction of value from the everyday. I summarise the book’s critical approach to relatability as a status that suggests belonging and inclusivity, yet operates on existing hierarchies of gender, race, class and other forms of difference. I conclude with some questions as to what may lie beyond relatability, or if indeed relatability’s parameters may be rethought or expanded so that the intensive regulation of young women may be dismantled.


Emotional capitalism Neoliberalism Post-Fordism Women’s work Whiteness 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Akane Kanai
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Media, Film and JournalismMonash UniversityCaulfieldAustralia

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