rethinking friendship


Friendship appears to be a hot topic at present (see my recent post on Joseph Epstein’s book or Brayden’s post on a recent ASR article). Another addition to the (broadly) ‘sociology of friendship’ literature is a recent Princeton University Press book by Liz Spencer and Ray Pahl titled Rethinking Friendship: Hidden Solidarities Today [copy of introduction here]. Here’s a related article by the second author from last week from the Prospect. Here’s a few lines on the book’s point of departure:

Our aim in this book has been to challenge the views of those social theorists and commentators who have adopted an overwhelmingly pessimistic, if not despairing, response to the society they describe. Inevitably, this has meant that we have concentrated on commentators who take the most negative readings, giving less attention to others who have questioned such dark interpretations. However, lest some accuse us of Panglossian complacency, we recognize that our stance is more oneof modification than of complete rejection. To claim that society is eternally enduring and unchanging would be absurd. However, we feel that there has been a serious misunderstanding of the dynamics of micro-social worlds, and particularly of the role of friendship and trust. Such issues have not figured greatly in the magisterial sweep of theorists of social change, who have, perhaps, concentrated more on identifying the overarching spirit of the age.

Written by teppo

September 22, 2006 at 6:31 am

Posted in books, research, sociology, teppo

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