Buying and Selling Emotions: A Theoretical Analysis

David Fischer


This paper seeks to understand the relationship between the buying and selling of emotions in the retail and customer service industries of a capitalist economy. Symbolic interactionist theories were used to analyze the commodification and selling of emotions from the perspective of the producer and the employee. Psychoanalytic theories are employed to analyze consumer’s unconscious desires for buying the newly commodified emotions. The unconscious cognitive processes and accompanying physiological manifestations occurring during the interaction between buyer and seller for the commodified emotion were subsequently looked at in detail. In the end, a conceptual theoretical framework was created which provides a means for interpreting internal, unconscious desire for type and level of a particular emotion based upon observable interactions.

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Canadian Journal of Family and Youth / Le Journal Canadien de Famille et de la Jeunesse
2008-2014 | ISSN 1718-9748