Within the so-called seduction community, the ability to meet and attract women is understood as a skill which heterosexual men can cultivate through practical training and personal development. Though it has been an object of media speculation - and frequent sensationalism - for over a decade, this cultural formation remains poorly understood.
In the first book-length study of the industry, Rachel O'Neill takes us into the world of seduction seminars, training events, instructional guidebooks and video tutorials. Pushing past established understandings of 'pickup artists' as pathetic, pathological or perverse, she examines what makes seduction so compelling for those drawn to participate in this sphere.
Seduction vividly portrays how the twin rationalities of neoliberalism and postfeminism are reorganising contemporary intimate life, as labour-intensive and profit-orientated modes of sociality consume other forms of being and relating. It is essential reading for students and scholars of gender, sexuality, sociology and cultural studies, as well as anyone who wants to understand the seduction industry's overarching logics and internal workings.
Rachel O'Neill is Research Fellow in Sociology at the University of York. She received a PhD in Gender and Cultural Studies from King's College London in 2016. Her work is concerned with intimacy, subjectivity, power and sexual politics.