"I've got him ..." - Emotions/affects in online mediated love markets: A poststructuralist approach
Wetzel, Dietmar J.
Institute of Sociology University of Berne Berne, Switzerland
For a person dating online the virtual search for a relationship seems more than ever one of the best options when looking for a partner. However, this seemingly ideal (relationships) market may be "polluted" by things outside of the non-economic field (Stäheli 2007). With a poststructuralist approach emotions or affects can be analyzed more closely, for example the way in which they contaminate the logic of the homo oeconomicus and also the strategies/tactics of the subjects when choosing different partners. In general, affects can be described as the ability to affect someone or to be affected by someone (Deleuze/Guattari 1996). While it is not possible to localize affects in space and the stress is often put on structural aspects, emotions are individually attributable and belong to the area of influence of subjects.
(1) Optimization of the choice of partners is possible and even desired by the unleashed competition. It is an empirical question how affects that are not controllable by the affected person contaminate the practices of online dating and change the chances for success on the market, resulting in a new mode of subjectivation understood as self-interest.
(2) With Eva Illouz (2006) relationships can be described as cognitive objects that can be analyzed by a rational cost-benefit analysis. The only obstacle lies in the over-estimation of one´s own market value. It would be interesting to examine to what extent (unconscious) affects cross the plans of a subject that has been trimmed on optimization by guidebooks.
(3) The economics of abundance and the "absence in the presence" (Derrida) require efficient control strategies in the search for the right partner. We have to explore how the (new) access opportunities and the active handling of one´s own actions and emotions lead to new forms of classification.