Public and Collective Intimacy

  • Danny Kaplan
Part of the Cultural Sociology book series (CULTSOC)


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.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

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

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