1st Edition

The Anthropology of Friendship

Edited By Sandra Bell, Simon Coleman Copyright 1999
    208 Pages
    by Routledge

    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    Friendship is usually seen as a vital part of most people's lives in the West. From our friends, we hope to derive emotional support, advice and material help in times of need. In this pioneering book, basic assumptions about friendship are examined from a cross-cultural point of view. Is friendship only a western conception or is it possible to identify friends in such places as Papua New Guinea, Kenya, China, and Brazil? In seeking to answer this question, contributors also explore what friendship means closer to home, from the bar to the office, and address the following:* Are friendships voluntary?* Should friends be distinguished sharply from relatives?* Do work and friendship mix?* Does friendship support or subvert the social order?* How is friendship shaped by the nature of the person, gender, and the relationship between private and public life?* How is friendship affected when morality is compromised by self-interest?This book represents one of the few major attempts to deal with friendship from a comparative perspective. In achieving this aim, it demonstrates the culture-bound nature of many assumptions concerning one of the most basic building-blocks of western social relationships. More importantly, it signposts the future of social relations in many parts of the world, where older social bonds based on kinship or proximity are being challenged by flexible ties forged when people move within local, national and increasingly global networks of social relations.

    The Anthropology of Friendship: Enduring Themes and Future , Possibilities, People Who Can Be Friends: Selves and Social Relationships, Friendship : The Hazards of an Ideal Relationship, The Importance of Friendship in the Absence of States, According to the Icelandic Sagas, Building Affinity through Friendship, The 'Bones' of Friendship: Playing Dominoes with Arthur of an Evening in the Eagle Pub, Expressions of Interest: Friendship and guanxi in Chinese Societies, Friendship, Kinship and the Life Course in Rural Auvergne, Friends and Networks as Survival Strategies in North-East Europe, Localized Kin and Globalized Friends: Religious Modernity and the 'Educated Self' in East Africa


    Sandra Bell University of Durham Simon Coleman University of Durham