Ordinary Relationships

A Sociological Study of Emotions, Reflexivity and Culture

Julie Brownlie

August 2014


Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan

Series: Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life

ISBN: 9781137318763

Recent academic theorizing tends to position ordinary relationships as something we have lost, to be mourned; yet their nature, what we are assumed to have lost, is not seriously engaged with. Drawing on rich empirical data – and on recent theoretical work on culture, reflexivity and emotions – this book questions epochal and undifferentiated claims about contemporary emotional lives, and sets out to be explicit about the nature of ordinary relationships. In place of an academic and cultural preoccupation with emotions talk and disclosure, it emphasises the significance of the unsaid, what we do, as much as what we say, and the work we do to maintain a sense of privacy. It also questions the extent to which a sense of vulnerability has become central to how we make our way emotionally in the world. In doing so it argues for a reconceptualization of intimacy, reflexivity and vulnerability. Ordinary Relationships can be read as a call to be curious about, and to have our head turned by, extant and background practices and the ordinary relationships that create and are constituted by them.

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