The Sociological Significance of Affairs
This chapter describes the micro-politics of affairs, through an examination of their location within a wider framework of sexual politics, to examining some wider societal and historical themes. Sociological accounts, while being less likely to speak in terms of unchanging narratives have, nevertheless, provided us with equally familiar stories, arguing that love is shaped by and exists within a changing social context. The chapter talks about that there is an interest at the institutional and at the more individual level. The interest may tend to be more historical when attempts are made to relate changing patterns of sexual intimacy to ideas of modernity or post-modernity. Or, the interest may be in the way in which a study of affairs might illuminate some fundamental human processes and concerns such as trust, deception, reputation, secrecy, gossip and scandal. Sexual liaisons form a major part of the content of gossip columns although financial and political shenanigans have an equal, if more limited, fascination.