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Organising Intimacy: Exploring Heterosexual Singledoms at Swedish Singles Activities
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Social and Psychological Studies.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1067-3906
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Att organisera intimitet : Heterosexuella singelskap och svenska singelaktiviteter (Swedish)
Abstract [en]

Single activities have long been places where single people can come to meet friends, build community or look for partners. The activities have relevance for studies of heterosexuality, intimacy, personal life and space. This dissertation discusses a conference, a cruise, an online site and an association for heterosexual singles in contemporary Sweden. It shows how these activities, analysed as organising people and spaces, offer participants different versions of intimacy, relationships, personal life and ultimately singledom itself.  The concept non-relationality is coined to describe how people understand and enact what it means to lack a certain kind of relationship.

Multi-sited ethnographic observations are combined with interviews and a survey (n=416). The chosen methods allow insight into both the heterogeneous character of the contemporary single activity scene, as well as existing tendencies to form communities. The group whose single activities are examined is deemed fairly typical of the single population at large. Nevertheless, most conclusions centre on the specific set of activities described in the book and relate them to historical examples and theory.

The single activities examined can be interpreted to enact different practices entailed in a relationship without necessarily demanding commitment to a whole relationship or a specific person. In that way, the activities accommodate the inflexible personal lives that some singles report having. This challenges strict boundaries between coupledom and singledom. Such transgressive or “hetero-doxical” potential in single activities is nevertheless circumscribed by organisers’ notion that the activities provide therapeutic community in a phase before singles take the step (back) into coupledom.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2014. , 229 p.
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2014:54
Keyword [en]
singledom, heterosexuality, intimacy, Carol Smart, personal life, multi-sited ethnography, community, courtship, dating, internet dating, sociology of family, relationality, close relations, liminal space
Keyword [sv]
singelskap, heterosexualitet, intimitet, Carol Smart, personligt liv, multi-sited ethnography, gemenskap, kurtis, dejting, internetdejting, familjesociologi, relationalitet, nära relationer, liminalt rum
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-33658ISBN: 978-91-7063-592-2OAI: diva2:747469
Public defence
2014-10-30, Andersalen, 11 D 121, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 10:15 (English)
Available from: 2014-10-28 Created: 2014-09-12 Last updated: 2014-11-03Bibliographically approved

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Henriksson, Andreas
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