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Publication - Dr Jennifer Whillans

    The weekend

    the friend and foe of independent singles


    Whillans, JA, 2014, ‘The weekend: the friend and foe of independent singles’. Leisure Studies, vol 33., pp. 185-201


    The intensification of friendship networks among independent singles is considered ‘the pleasure offered by the single life’ and the sociability, rather than
    domesticity, of this life stage is often emphasised. This paper reports on
    interviews with independent singles from affluent areas which suggested that
    accompanying this cultural norm of sociability was the relentless onus of temporal organisation required for interpersonal synchronisation with friends. While
    not retracting their enjoyment of the single life, respondents expressed a distinct
    and distinctive sense of risk or vulnerability of spending too much time alone,
    particularly at the weekend. It is argued that, on the one hand, the relative
    absence of paid work at the weekend removes the structures that constrain the
    participation in and the temporal location of joint leisure practices during the
    week. On the other hand, the absence of employment structuring people’s day
    increases unpredictability about other people’s whereabouts, whenabouts and
    their availability for shared practices. In response to this dilemma – that is, the
    weekend as the primary site for sociability met with uncertainty of others’ availability – independent singles responded in a number of ways to secure temporal arrangements with others, safeguarding themselves against the ‘built-in hazards’ of being single and finding themselves home alone at the weekend.

    Full details in the University publications repository