Gripes / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $55.37
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 20%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (8) from $55.37   
  • New (5) from $55.37   
  • Used (3) from $94.98   


We all know what it's like to be annoyed by little things that our husband, wife or partner does - leaving the cap off the toothpaste tube, leaving the toilet lid up, leaving dirty clothes on the floor - and we know how easily these little grievances of everyday life can spin out of control. In this brilliant new book, the sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann shows us how and why sparks can suddenly fly even in the most well-adjusted couples.

The two partners see themselves as being in total harmony but they are mistaken! The clash between their uniquely individual attitudes to life rumbles on in silence until suddenly erupting in an emotional outburst each time an object or an attitude reveals for the thousandth time the unbearable and incomprehensible otherness of the partner.

When this occurs, a whole panoply of tactics is deployed, ranging from the combative (secret acts of revenge) through the neutral (sulking) to the subtly loving. But these stormy episodes within relationships can have a happy ending, for it is through learning to overcome these irritations and aggravations that love is ultimately strengthened.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Kaufmann is a wise and clever microsociologist, inspired by ErvingGoffman, by fashion magazines, and by kittenish and cougarishwomen. He is the voice of the annoyed, the vexed, the fearful, andthe comforted."
Contemporary Sociology

"Living in an increasingly detraditionalised world opens upglorious new opportunities for individual autonomy andself-realisation. It also creates unprecedented pressures onlong-term relationships. Kaufmann brilliantly captures this paradox of life in late modernity,analysing the seemingly limitless sources of mutual irritation ineveryday life, as well as spouses' inventive revenge andpeacemaking tactics."
VĂ©ronique Mottier, Jesus College, Cambridge &University of Lausanne

"Jean-Claude Kaufman's Gripes is one of those rare booksthat brings into focus a seemingly unimportant fact of life.Irritation and the slow abrasive effect of the gripes it causes aresands that grind down the gears of relationships. Behavioralscientists and self-help advisers make so much of the powerfulpassions. Kaufman brilliantly illuminates the simpler forces ofsocial disruption."
Charles C. Lemert, author of Muhammad Ali: Trickster in theCulture of Irony

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745643618
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/21/2009
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jean-Claude Kaufmann, Professor of Sociology, University of ParisV, Sorbonne

Translated by

Helen Morrison

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part 1 1 + 1 = 4

1 The conjugal adventure 9

Domestic emotions 11

1 + 1 = 1? 14

Sparks start to fly 16

The comfort zone 22

Doubly irritating objects 25

Key episodes 28

2 Men and women - different or complementary? 34

The different approaches 36

Glitches 39

Are men less irritated? 45

Irritated by a spectre 50

Millions of Peter Pans? 52

Stubborn macho reactions 57

Part 2 In the Eye of the Storm

3 The causes 65

The symbolic toothpaste tube 66

Forced proximity 68

A waltz in double time 73

Traces of the self 77

Money matters 79

Secret worlds 81

Too close 82

Too distant 85

4 The mechanics 89

The list 89

Crystallization 95

Letting off steam 97

Aspects of identity 100

'Passion killers' and the magic of love 102

Confused feelings 105

A certain notion of the truth 107

Dissonance 109

5 The wider picture 112

Family baggage 112

'Mummy's boy' 114

'That slut' 121

Inattentiveness and humiliation 125

Dissatisfaction 131

Disgust 133

Pathological irritability 135

Aggravating social circumstances 137

Part 3 Small Acts of Revenge and Romantic Tactics

6 Communication difficulties 143

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth 143

Hot and cold 145

The language of gestures 147

The use of laughter 150

Inside the mind of the irritator 153

Secret acts of revenge 156

7 Love's secret ways 163

Minuscule victories 163

The about-turn 165

When irritation melts away 167

Physical therapy 169

Judicious use of sulking 172

Seeing reason 176

Reframing the scene 178

The little private cinema and voice off 180

Accentuating the positive 183

Conclusion 186

Methodological appendix 191

A new research technique 191

My direct correspondents 194

A research project cannot be emptied out like a bag 212

My other sources 213

Bibliography 215

Index 219

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)