Innerlighetens tid : En sociologisk undersökning av intimitet och senmodernitet
Sammanfattning: Due to a recent increase in usage of the concept of intimacy within social scientific research, the overarching aim of this work is to investigate its meaning and significance in contemporary social life. The first part of the thesis reviews research on intimacy. Intimacy is perceived as being vaguely defined as a concept, leading to insufficient discussions concerning the significance of intimacy both as a social concept and as a social phenomenon in contemporary western society. In order to become more clearly defined as a social concept to use in future research, intimacy needs to be investigated as a social phenomenon. The second part explores and analyses intimacy as a social phenomenon by way of three partly phenomenological and partly theoretical analyses: the phenomenology of intimacy, the arithmetic of intimacy and the dark sides of intimacy. The three analyses result in a definition of intimacy understood as a kind of sociality, or mode of social being, characterized by an oceanic experience, mutual and complete directedness between the ones being in relation, an experience of mental as well as physical closeness, and an experience of time as “durée”. The third part discusses the proposed definition of intimacy as sociality in relation to contemporary social theory. In relation to an understanding of contemporary western society as late modern or radicalized modern, intimacy as sociality is discussed as a radicalization of a rational sociality, characteristic for modern society. The discussion takes the form of a dialectic critique of modern dualistic theories, proposing a triadic (dialectic) alternative for understanding basic forms of sociality and social relations. The vague notion of intimacy as a concept suited to characterize social life in contemporary western society is supported by this proposition.
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