Acquaintances: The Space Between Intimates and Strangers by David Morgan

By David Morgan

The excellence among acquaintances and friends is frequently made in daily dialog however the importance of this contrast is under-explored. This publication argues that acquaintanceship is a subject beneficial of research in its personal correct and assesses the general importance of pals in overdue smooth society. entrance disguise; Halftitle web page; name web page; Copyright web page; Contents; sequence editors' preface; Acknowledgements; 1 finding friends; 2 friends in house: neighbours; three 'Mates should not friends': acquaintanceship and workplaces; four family among pros and consumers; five Passing friends: overlapping timetables; 6 Fleeting buddies in time and area; 7 far-off and undesirable encounters; eight end; precis; References; identify Index; topic Index; again disguise

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Additional resources for Acquaintances: The Space Between Intimates and Strangers (Sociology and Social Change)

Example text

Based partly upon her own experiences and partly upon her exploration of what makes neighbourhoods work or fail to work, this book is a rich source for the study of acquaintanceship. While recognizing that urban locations are full (for any one individual) of strangers, these strangers can become acquaintances: ‘When you see the same stranger three our four times on Hudson St, you begin to nod. This is almost getting to be an acquaintance, a public acquaintance, of course’ (1969: 54). Her focus is particularly on institutions like neighbourhood shops and, especially, the sidewalks.

Hence notions of ‘too close’ are affected by temporal considerations. It cannot be stressed too much that notions of closeness and distance are locally and culturally defined and need to be the subject of comparative analysis. Nevertheless such notions can be woven into understandings of locally based identities, of who ‘we’ are. This may be done as a form of contrast; we are not like those people on the other side of the road who are too ‘standoffish’ or in each other’s pockets all the time. Hence part of the significance of neighbours and neighbourhoods is in association with the process of elaborating an ethic of place, an ethic that may have an applicability wider than the immediate locality.

This is aided by the fact that there is considerable fluidity and flexibility within the terms of good or bad neighbour and so some kind of leeway is not only possible but essential. In addition there may be some kind of locally based norms, perhaps reinforced by local associations or informal gatherings. There are a variety of sociological factors that have a bearing on these understandings of neighbours. An important one relates to life course especially in relation to the presence of young children of school age or younger.

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