Thesis Eleven 51 (1):1-16 (1997)

The article sketches an approach to the sociology of the stranger which is based on historical semantics, on comparative studies of social structures of premodern societies and on a reconsideration of the `classical sociology of the stranger' and of marginality (Simmel, 1908; Michels, 1929 and others; Schütz, 1944; Park, 1964). The guiding hypothesis of the article is that there is a discontinuity in the modern experience of the stranger which has not been reflected sufficiently in the classical sociology of the stranger. Whereas in premodern societies membership criteria are binary codes such as `kin' vs. `stranger', `friend' vs. `enemy', and elaborate arrangements were then necessary for institutionalizing a third status (e.g. for internal strangers) between the binary alternatives, the modern experience is wholly different. Modern society is no longer a membership organization. The third status (i.e. being neither `friend' nor `stranger') has become constitutive of our everyday experience of other persons. And this everyday experience is that of indifference as our normal attitude towards most persons living in the world. A modern sociology of the stranger has to explore the facets of indifference. Indifference can be described as an interactional achievement in situations of fleeting contact. And it can be examined in its macrostructural consequences in a modern societal order in which motivations for societal engagements and therefore any willingness to care for the other are unavoidably scarce
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DOI 10.1177/0725513697051000002
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References found in this work BETA

The Neighbor, the Natural History of Human Contacts.Helen Adler - 1904 - Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 1 (13):355-358.
Der Patriotismus.Robert Michels - 1929 - Annalen der Philosophie Und Philosophischen Kritik 8:139-140.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Stranger and Social Theory.Vince Marotta - 2000 - Thesis Eleven 62 (1):121-134.
Cosmopolitan Corporate Responsibilities.Wim Vandekerckhove - 2010 - In Stan van Hooft & Wim Vandekerckhove (eds.), Questioning Cosmopolitanism. Springer. pp. 199--209.

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