The Uses of the Stranger: Circulation, Arbitration, Secrecy, and Dirt*

  title={The Uses of the Stranger: Circulation, Arbitration, Secrecy, and Dirt*},
  author={Nedim Karakayali},
  journal={Sociological Theory},
  pages={312 - 330}
Little attention has been paid to the role of strangers in the social division of labor that is otherwise a key concept in sociological theory. Partly drawing upon Simmel, this article develops a general framework for analyzing the “uses” of “the stranger” throughout history. Four major domains in which strangers have often been employed are identified: (1) circulation (of goods, money, and information); (2) arbitration; (3) management of secret/sacred domains; and (4) “dirty jobs.” The article… 

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