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Gripes / Edition 1

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Kaufmann is a wise and clever microsociologist, inspired by Erving Goffman, by fashion magazines, and by kittenish and cougarish women. He is the voice of the annoyed, the vexed, the fearful, and the comforted."
Contemporary Sociology

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

"Jean-Claude Kaufman's Gripes is one of those rare books that brings into focus a seemingly unimportant fact of life. Irritation and the slow abrasive effect of the gripes it causes are sands that grind down the gears of relationships. Behavioral scientists and self-help advisers make so much of the powerful passions. Kaufman brilliantly illuminates the simpler forces of social disruption."
Charles C. Lemert, author of Muhammad Ali: Trickster in the Culture of Irony

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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 Paris V, Sorbonne

Translated by

Helen Morrison

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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

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