Acquaintances: The Space Between Intimates and Strangers by David Morgan

By David Morgan

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

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Extra info for Acquaintances: The Space Between Intimates and Strangers (Sociology and Social Change)

Example text

His neighbour, aware of the liberal views of most professors, quickly let it be known that ‘he shared Southern race attitudes and was a fundamentalist Baptist’ (p. 47). The sub-text was that good neighbours avoided these potentially divisive issues. This sense of trial and error is not simply a question of avoiding potentially divisive issues or seeking out common interests. It is also a question of the degree of openness or distance that is expected. Too much openness might store up problems for the future if relations were to cool off for some reason.

In some cases, more extensive practices of informal care might be involved but it is important not to see this as being at the core of neighbourly relationships. Indeed, the reciprocities might be negative, a question of not playing loud music or of providing advance warning if some disruption to everyday routines is anticipated. Perhaps the minimal form of reciprocity between neighbours involves mutual greetings. ‘Sometimes, even relationships with directly adjacent neighbours could be restricted to an exchange of hellos’ (Gans 1967: 156).

The knowledge and practices may go further but without this minimum there is no acquaintanceship. Nevertheless, even within this quite limited framework there can be some considerable variation. While some of this variation will reflect individual preferences and competences, it is also possible to sketch some more general features that shape this knowledge and practice. Clearly, the actual design and history of the neighbourhood or collection of dwellings will play a major part. Levittown, for example, was deliberately constructed by designers who had some sense of the kind of neighbourhood that they were creating: ‘Propinquity is a factor while people get to know each other, after which compatibility becomes the major criterion, but the spaces between houses and the gentle curvature of the streets put enough distance between people to allow them to ignore all but next-door neighbours’ (Gans 1967: 281).

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