Kafékultur, kommunikation och gränser

Detta är en avhandling från Department of Sociology

Sammanfattning: The café is a social meeting place. An as yet un-moulded aspect of social life is boundaries – how meetings rest on boundaries between participants that their intercourse brings forth. The aim of this dissertation is to study the café as a sociological and social–psychological phenomenon and at the same time contribute to forming the social–psychological aspect of boundaries. The study also contributes to the understanding of the informal and elementary social life of our time; the café as a phenomenon is sociologically interesting regarding the expansion of café life in recent years – to be seen in contrast to the so–called ”death of cafés” which began in Sweden in the 1960s. The study is qualitative social-psychology, influenced by the sociology and social–psychology of Simmel, Mead and Asplund. The café is explored from different points of view, and gives an understanding of the café as a context, its conducts and rules. The European cultural history of the café is described. The sociological significance of a café visit is analysed – a social pause in social life. Central in the dissertation is the empirical study (participant observations) conducted on cafés in Malmö (Sweden), especially a couple of observed café visits where the analysis is focused on the boundaries – and the relating to boundaries – which arise during the conversations. The social–psychological aspect of the boundary, the understanding of how boundaries between participants arise, are tested, threatened and vary in social processes is initially formed in a concept analysis. This is further developed in the analysis of the café conversations. The study presents a world of meaning in which participants relate to boundaries in both routine and improvised ways, depending upon how boundaries between participants in social interaction and communication arise, vary and are tested in the social processes. The concept of ‘limitrophe’ is introduced and formed – defined as events when one approaches boundaries close to the unknown and where the boundaries are decimated, while new ones are produced, when the participants are ready for it – genuine social contacts. The central themes are drawn together in the conclusion. The way of meeting in café is understood as ”local social publics” – a democratic and human aspect of the café today. The significance of boundaries is understood to make it possible for the participants to see where they are and where they are heading in the world that is produced through their communications; and furthermore to come in contact with other persons and their own concrete boundaries. A general distinction is also formed: ‘speaking ABOUT’ and ‘SPEAKING about’, two attitudes on how to relate to boundaries in the process of communication, where contact becomes possible with the latter attitude. In a way the café renaissance can be seen as an answer to the expansion of the abstract side of social life. Nevertheless the abstract side is present in the new café life; but it is the concrete side that is brought out in the dissertation.

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