Synopses & Reviews
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 volume is a good starting point for a more systematic, comparative approach to friendship both as ideology and as practice, studied in the context of other forms of sociality and identification." --Anthropological Theory
About the Author
Edited by Sandra Bell
, University of Durham and Simon Coleman
, University of Durham
Table of Contents
The anthropology of friendship : enduring themes and future possibilities / Sandra Bell and Simon Coleman -- People who can be friends : selves and social relationships / James G. Carrier -- Friendship : the hazards of an ideal relationship / Robert Paine -- The importance of friendship in the the absence of states, according to the Icelandic sagas / E. Paul Durrenberger and Gisli Pâalsson -- Building affinity through friendship / Claudia Barcellos Rezende -- The 'bones of friendship' : playing dominoes with Arthur of an evening in the Eagle Pub / Nigel Rapport -- Expressions of interest : friendship and guanxi in Chinese societies / Alan Smart -- Friendship, kinship and the life course in rural Auvergne / Deborah Reed-Danahay -- Friends and networks as survival strategies in North-east Europe / Ray Abrahams -- Localized kin and globalized friends : religious modernity and the 'educated self' in East Africa / Mario I. Aguilar.