chapter  1
26 Pages

Betrayal and Betrayers

This chapter discusses betrayal as generally as possible, in the Simmelean tradition of formal sociology. This implies a search for different contexts and types of betrayal where discovered similarities and differences are not attributed to the concrete content. The chapter shows that betraying is a common rather than uncommon feature of social life. G. Simmel, who has written about secrets and secrecy, has emphasized the bonds created by them. Even in dangerous contexts there is a need for sharing secrets because of the social bonds they create. The chapter discusses the betrayal in the forms of "telling" versus "leaving." Treachery is often associated with a question mark; that is, recurrent questions of whether an act is a betrayal or whether someone is really a betrayer. Betraying does not only cause strong indignation on the part of the observers but intense experiences for those involved. The chapter concludes with emphasizing the sociological centrality.