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Becoming Intimately Mobile

Series:

Paula Bialski

As more and more people become mobile to visit friends, family, and business colleagues using social networking websites, technologies in use today like Couchsurfing.com or online hitchhiking websites (OHWs) are allowing people to create new, planned encounters also between strangers. This book adds to the small body of work currently existing in the social sciences which describes ways in which the internet aids such face-to-face intimacy. Based on extensive research including 5 years of ethnography of couch surfers and OHW users and insights from over 3500 open-ended survey responses, this book explores the way meetings are initiated, relationships are strengthened or avoided, and the way hospitality and homemaking are negotiated. By explaining the process of becoming intimately mobile, this work creates an in-depth account of the relationships being created today as well as the problems that arise when defining friendship and closeness in a mobile world.