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Confidence is the new sexy: remaking intimate relationality

Gill, R. (2018). Confidence is the new sexy: remaking intimate relationality. In: Fine, R., Kaplan, Y, Peled, S & Yoav, R (Eds.), Eros Family and Community. (pp. 255-276). Hildesheim, Germany: Georg Olms Publishing.


This chapter is concerned with the reshaping of intimate relationality in contemporary culture. Its focus is primarily upon Anglo-American contexts, but its arguments may have a wider transnational significance. The argument is located within sociological debates about the transformation of intimacy (Giddens, 1993), and in particular how constructions, understandings and practices of intimacy are changing in societies marked by neoliberalism, postfeminism and emotional capitalism (Illouz, 1997). The chapter aims to examine how intimate relationality is being ‘made over’ in these contexts through new incitements to ‘love yourself’ or ‘love your body’, directed almost exclusively at women. It seeks to argue that a ‘confidence imperative’ has reached an ascendancy in contemporary popular culture and to examine what potentialities this might open up or close down politically for those interested in equality, diversity and social justice.

Publication Type: Book Section
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Culture & the Creative Industries
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