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Description - Acquaintances: The Space Between Intimates and Strangers by David H. J. Morgan

The distinction between "friends" and "acquaintances" is often made in everyday speech but the significance of this distinction is under-explored. Acquaintanceship can be understood as a form of knowledge of other people and as lying somewhere between intimates and strangers. This book argues that acquaintanceship is a topic worth of investigation in its own right and assesses the overall significance of acquaintances in late modern society. Theorists whose work is relevant to this topic include Simmel, Goffman, Elias and others although the distinction is discussed in the writings of Adam Smith, if not earlier. After discussing possible definitions of acquaintanceship and exploring the possible contributions to our understanding of these ties from sociological literature, I consider its nature and significance in a variety of sites. These include places of work, neighbourhoods and professional client relations but also go on to explore passing acquaintances and weaker ties. Also of growing importance are relationships over the internet and with celebrities and even fictional characters. The book explores differences within the broad field of acquaintanceship and attempts to assess its overall significance. Here we can think of the discussions around "the strength of weak ties", the extent to which acquaintances can provide a sense of location and security in modern life and the ways in which they can provide us with insights, often fleeting, into worlds other than our own. The overall significance of acquaintances, it is argued, lies in the fact that they are not intimates and are relatively free from the complex webs of obligations that characterises these relationships. It can be argued, in conclusion, that acquaintanceship is of greater importance in late modern society.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780335221608
ISBN-10: 0335221602
Format: Paperback
(90mm x 60mm x 4mm)
Pages: 152
Imprint: Open University Press
Publisher: Open University Press
Publish Date: 16-Sep-2009
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - David H. J. Morgan

David Morgan has an Emeritus Professorship at the University of Manchester and a visiting Professorship at Keele University. He has written extensively on areas to do with family sociology and the sociology of gender, with particular reference to men and masculinities and auto/biographical studies. David served as President of the British Sociological Association and had a centre at Manchester University (The Morgan Centre)named in his honour to celebrate his life-long commitment and contribution to the sociology of families and relationships.

Books By David H. J. Morgan

Family Connections by David H. J. Morgan
Paperback, July 1996