Shared households, quasi-communes and neo-tribes
Current Sociology, 52, (2), . (doi:10.1177/0011392104041799).
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An increasing proportion of single young adults can expect to spend at least some of their 20-something years living in peer-shared households, defined here as households consisting of unrelated individuals living in self-contained houses and apartments. Indeed, many will also find themselves returning to such arrangements after living alone or with a partner. This article explores the nature of the relationships that exist between young people living in such households. First, using Maffesoli’s concept of ‘neo-tribalism’, the article explores the importance of proximity, shared space (both real and symbolic) and ritual to the everyday framing of relationships in peer-shared households. Second, the article considers the conditions under which some shared households may move beyond neo-tribalism to take on the characteristics of ‘quasi-communes’, marked by the institutionalization of friendship within a domestic setting. The article draws on empirical research involving 25 shared households in the south of England.
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