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194) and as resembling a “boomtown during the gold rush days of the American west” (p. In the decade or so since then, the boomtown has become, as mentioned above, a sprawling metropolis, suggesting to Michael Carmichael and Rolf Janke at Sage that the time was right for a multivolume encyclopedia reviewing the field's extensive set of theories, concepts, and empirical findings about human relationships. Obviously, there was much work behind the scenes to make it possible for you, the reader, to now be browsing through three volumes of up-to-date information about human relationships. ) We considered several options for selecting the list of topics to be included, settling on what might be called the Willie Sutton method.
Their excitement about the project was infectious, and they easily convinced Reis to be an editor, who in turn, easily convinced Susan Sprecher to join as co-editor. Willie Sutton, a prolific bank robber, was once asked why he robbed banks.
This diversity of approaches has enriched Relationship Science, although it also makes the field seem like a sprawling, modern metropolis with many communities, each with its own special character, spread around a common hub.
Fortunately, our team of advisory board members also assisted us in this formidable task.
The types of relationships that have received the lion's share of scientific attention are those in which the members are interdependent—that is, frequently, strongly, and diversely influenced by each other—and as a consequence these receive greater coverage in this encyclopedia.
Many of the scientists who have contributed to scientific knowledge about personal relationships over the past several decades are represented as authors in this encyclopedia. Some of the more central disciplines in Relationship Science are psychology, sociology, communication, and family studies, but scholars from anthropology, physiology, neuroscience, history, economics, and legal studies are also involved.
Once we had a near-complete list, we began the task of identifying an author for each entry.
We invited accomplished researchers and scholars with expertise on the topics to write the entries.