Public and Collective Intimacy

Chapter
Part of the Cultural Sociology book series (CULTSOC)

Abstract

This chapter spells out the research strategy of public and collective intimacy. The chapter revisits the concept of intimacy and its use in public life, problematizing the “identitarian” focus in current scholarship (among them Herzfeld, Illouz, and Ringmar). Drawing on the understudied dimension of intimacy as a social relationship, the chapter turns to explain how public intimacy mediates between interpersonal and collective ties through a dynamic of seduction. Personal relationships formed in social institutions are staged under the gaze of spectators in ways that not only reinforce feelings of exclusivity but also tease and invite others to become participants. To understand how this affects collective solidarity, the chapter draws correspondences between the move from occurrences to events in the study of social performance and the move from sociability to solidarity in public events and media events. Other neo-Durkheimian accounts of ritualized events have centered on the reaffirmation of the national community in terms of the group’s collective identity. Instead, building on past experiences of public intimacy, collective intimacy points to the emergence of shared feelings of group complicity, an imagining of the community as a cohesive network of friends.

References

  1. Adut, Ari. 2012. “A Theory of the Public Sphere.” Sociological Theory 30 (4): 238–262.Google Scholar
  2. Alexander, Jeffrey C. 1988. “Culture and Political Crisis: ‘Watergate’ and Durkheimian Sociology.” In Durkheimian Sociology: Cultural Studies, edited by Jeffrey C. Alexander, 187–224. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Alexander, Jeffrey C. 2004. “Cultural Pragmatics: Social Performance Between Ritual and Strategy.” Sociological Theory 22 (4): 527–573.Google Scholar
  4. Alexander, Jeffrey C. 2006. “From the Depths of Despair: Performance, Counter Performance, and ‘September 11’.” In Social Performance: Symbolic Action, Cultural Pragmatics, and Ritual, edited by Jeffrey C. Alexander, Bernhard Giesen, and Jason L. Mast, 91–114. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Alexander, Jeffrey C., and Ronald N. Jacobs. 1998. “Mass Communication, Ritual and Civil Society.” In Media, Ritual and Identity, edited by Tamar Liebes and James Curran, 23–41. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  6. Anderson, Benedict. [1983] 1991. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origins and Spread of Nationalism. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  7. Arendt, Hannah. 1968. Men in Dark Times. San Diego: Harcourt Brace.Google Scholar
  8. Barnes, Elizabeth. 1997. States of Sympathy: Seduction and Democracy in the American Novel. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Barre, Nelson. 2014. “‘It’s Crazy, That Was Us’: The Implicated and Compliant Audience in the Boys of Foley Street.” Comparative Drama 48 (1): 103–116.Google Scholar
  10. Bellah, Robert N., Richard Madsen, William Sullivan, Ann Swidler, and Steven Tipton. 1985. Habits of the Heart: Individualism and Commitment in American Life. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bellman, Beryl L. 1981. “The Paradox of Secrecy.” Human Studies 4: 1–24.Google Scholar
  12. Benwell, Bethan. 2004. “Ironic Discourse: Evasive Masculinity in Men’s Lifestyle Magazines.” Men and Masculinities 7 (1): 3–21.Google Scholar
  13. Calhoun, Craig. 1997. “Nationalism and the Public Sphere.” In Public and Private in Thought and Practice, edited by Jeff Weintraub and Krishan Kumar, 75–93. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. Collins, Randall. 2004. Interaction Ritual Chains. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Cottle, Simon. 2006. “Mediatized Rituals: Beyond Manufacturing Consent.” Media, Culture and Society 28 (3): 411–432.Google Scholar
  16. Davetian, Benet. 2009. Civility: A Cultural History. Toronto: Toronto University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Dayan, Daniel, and Elihu Katz. 1992. Media Events: The Live Broadcasting of History. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Durkheim, Emile. [1915] 2003. “The Elementary Forms of Religious Life,” translated by Karen E. Fields. In Emile Durkheim: Sociologist of Modernity, edited by Mustafa Emirbayer, 109–121, 140–141. Malden, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  19. Durkheim, Emile. [1915] 2008. The Elementary Forms of the Religious Life. Translated by Joseph W. Swain. Mineola, NY: Dover.Google Scholar
  20. Dynel, Marta. 2008. “No Aggression, Only Teasing: The Pragmatics of Teasing and Banter.” Lodz Papers in Pragmatics 4 (2): 241–261.Google Scholar
  21. Eliasoph, Nina, and Paul Lichterman. 2003. “Culture in Interaction.” American Journal of Sociology 108 (4): 735–794.Google Scholar
  22. Emirbayer, Mustafa. 1996. “Useful Durkheim.” Sociological Theory 14 (2): 109–130.Google Scholar
  23. Fine, Gary Alan. 1984. “Humorous Interaction and the Social Construction of Meaning: Making Sense in a Jocular Vein.” Studies in Symbolic Interaction 5: 83–101.Google Scholar
  24. Fine, Gary Alan, and Harrington Brooke. 2004. “Tiny Publics: Small Groups and Civil Society.” Sociological Theory 22 (3): 341–356.Google Scholar
  25. Furedi, Frank. 2004. Therapy Culture: Cultivating Vulnerability in an Uncertain Age. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Gerth, Hans Heinrich, and Charles Wright Mills. 1964. Character and Social Structure: The Psychology of Social Institutions. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and World.Google Scholar
  27. Giddens, Anthony. 1991. Modernity and Self-identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Goffman, Ervin. 1967. Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-To-Face Behavior. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  29. Greenfeld, Liah. 1992. Nationalism: Five Roads to Modernity. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Haine, William Scott. 1996. The World of the Paris Café: Sociability Among the French Working Class, 1789–1914. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Handelman, Don. 1990. Models and Mirrors: Toward an Anthropology of Public Events. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Handelman, Don. 2007. “The Cartesian Divide of the Nation-State.” In The Emotions: A Cultural Reader, edited by Helena Wulff, 119–140. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  33. Herzfeld, Michael. [1997] 2005. Cultural Intimacy: Social Poetics in the Nation-State. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  34. Herzfeld, Michael. 2009. “The Performance of Secrecy: Domesticity and Privacy in Public Spaces.” Semiotica 175: 135–162.Google Scholar
  35. Herzfeld, Michael. 2013. “The European Crisis and Cultural Intimacy.” Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 13 (3): 491–497.Google Scholar
  36. Illouz, Eva. 2007. Cold Intimacies: The Making of Emotional Capitalism. Oxford: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  37. Iser, Wolfgang. 1993. Prospecting: From Reader Response to Literary Anthropology. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
  38. Jamieson, Lynn. 2005. “Boundaries of Intimacy.” In Families in Society: Boundaries and Relationships, edited by Linda McKie and Sarah Cunningham-Burley, 189–206. Bristol: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  39. John, Nicholas A. 2013. “The Social Logics of Sharing.” Communication Review 16 (3):113–131.Google Scholar
  40. Kaplan, Danny. 2005. “Public Intimacy: Dynamics of Seduction in Male Homosocial Interactions.” Symbolic Interaction 28 (4): 571–595.Google Scholar
  41. Lichterman, Paul, and Nina Eliasoph. 2014. “Civic Action.” American Journal of Sociology 120 (3): 798–863.Google Scholar
  42. Livingstone, Sonia, and Peter Lunt. 1993. Talk on Television: Audience Participation and Public Debate. Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
  43. Lyman, Peter. 1987. “The Fraternal Bond as a Joking Relationship: A Case Study of the Role of Sexist Jokes in Male Group Bonding.” In Changing Men: New Directions in Research on Men and Masculinity, edited by Michael Kimmel, 148–163. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  44. Mallory, Peter, and Carlson Jesse. 2014. “Rethinking Personal and Political Friendship with Durkheim.” Distinktion: Scandinavian Journal of Social Theory 15 (3): 327–342.Google Scholar
  45. Mast, Jason. 2006. “The Cultural Pragmatics of Event-ness: The Clinton/Lewinsky Affair.” In Social Performance: Symbolic Action, Cultural Pragmatics, and Ritual, edited by Jeffrey C. Alexander, Bernhard Giesen, and Jason Mast, 115–145. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Peters, John Durham. 2009. “Witnessing.” In Media Witnessing: Testimony in the Age of Mass Communication, edited by Paul Frosh and Amit Pinchevski, 23–24. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  47. Putnam, Robert. 2000. Bowling Alone. New York: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  48. Rai, Amit S. 2002. Rule of Sympathy: Sentiment, Race, and Power, 1750–1850. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  49. Reed, Isaac. 2006. “Social Dramas, Shipwrecks, and Cockfights: Conflict and Complicity in Social Performance.” In Social Performance: Symbolic Action, Cultural Pragmatics, and Ritual, edited by Jeffrey C. Alexander, Bernhard Giesen, and Jason L. Mast, 146–168. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Ringmar, Erik. 1998. “Nationalism: The Idiocy of Intimacy.” British Journal of Sociology 49 (4): 534–549.Google Scholar
  51. Schwarz, Ori. 2011. “Who Moved My Conversation? Instant Messaging, Intertextuality and New Regimes of Intimacy and Truth.” Media, Culture & Society 33 (1): 71–87.Google Scholar
  52. Sennett, Richard. 1977. The Fall of Public Man. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  53. Shoham, Hizky. 2009. “‘A Huge National Assemblage’: Tel Aviv as a Pilgrimage Site in Purim Celebrations (1920–1935).” Journal of Israeli History 28 (1): 1–20.Google Scholar
  54. Silver, Allan. 1990. “Friendship in Commercial Society: Eighteenth-Century Social Theory and Modern Sociology.” American Journal of Sociology 95 (6): 1474–1504.Google Scholar
  55. Silverstone, Roger. 2002. “Complicity and Collusion in the Mediation of Everyday Life.” New Literary History 33 (4): 761–780.Google Scholar
  56. Simmel, Georg. [1915] 1950. The Sociology of Georg Simmel. Translated by Kurt H. Wolff. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.Google Scholar
  57. Smith, Anthony D. 1991. National Identity. Reno: University of Nevada Press.Google Scholar
  58. Smith, Philip, and Jeffrey C. Alexander. 2005. “Introduction: The New Durkheim.” In The Cambridge Companion to Durkheim, edited by Jeffrey C. Alexander and Philip Smith, 1–40. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  59. Weintraub, Jeff. 1997. “The Theory and Politics of the Public/Private Distinction.” In Public and Private in Thought and Practice, edited by Jeff Weintraub and Krishan Kumar, 1–42. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  60. Weizman, Elda. 2013. “Political Irony: Constructing Reciprocal Positioning in the News Interview.” In The Pragmatics of Political Discourse: Explorations Across Cultures, edited by Anita Fetzer, 167–190. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  61. Wyrtzen, Jonathan. 2013. “Performing the Nation in Anti-colonial Protest in Interwar Morocco.” Nations and Nationalism 19 (4): 615–634.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Gender Studies ProgramBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael

Personalised recommendations