Byens tilfeldige møter: Hva får fremmede til å interagere med hverandre?
The article addresses chance interaction between the cityʼs strangers. Such interaction is an essential and much-celebrated feature of urbanity. However, what makes it actually occur, has rarely been systematically documented. The article investigates underlying circumstances that encourage peaceful chance interactions among strangers in urban public space. It draws on long-term ethnographic research in Norway as well as reference material from Argentina. The presented study reveals that a wide range of circumstances prompt, or license, such interaction, the principal ones being ‘exposed positionsʼ, ‘opening positionsʼ, and ‘mutual opennessʼ. In this, the research relies on, substantiates and expands upon a lesser-known part of Goffmanʼs pioneering interactionist sociology. The studyʼs findings signal a continuity and broader significance of these circumstances. The key contribution of the article to research on public space and social interaction, is the thorough, empirically grounded categorization of circumstances that spur the cityʼs strangers to engage spontaneously and peacefully with one another in public settings. Thereby, it also provides some important lessons for contemporary urban development.