Friendship and Personal Life

Saturday, 21 July 2018: 14:30-16:20
RC06 Family Research (host committee)

Language: French and English

Friendship is an understudied topic in the social sciences, especially compared to other personal relationships, like romantic partnerships and kinship. Unlike friendship, North American kinship relations are institutionalized, and governed by family law, and have long been understood as a core source of support (and strife) in people’s lives. Social scientists used to treat friendships as less important than family relationships in modern social life, but recent scholarship challenges this hierarchy of personal relationships by investigating the crucial roles of friendship in people’s lives and the ways in which it overlaps with and differs from family relationships. A range of factors, including the decline of fertility rates and the dramatic rise of singletons – both of which can lead people to forge support networks beyond the family – shapes sociologists’ growing recognition of the significance of friendship. Friendship is an important bond in the emergence of what some have called families of choice. In addition, friendship is a growing basis of domestic units, as young, urban dwellers pool resources in order to be able to enter the housing market, and senior citizens are starting to look to communal living with friends as alternatives to institutionalized retirement communities. This panel invites papers that investigate the place of friendship in personal life, broadly understood. Our aim is to build on the robust scholarship on kinship and family to enrich understandings of people’s personal communities and the place of informal, voluntary, non-institutionalized relationships in them.
Session Organizers:
Peter MALLORY, St. Francis Xavier University, Canada and Laura ERAMIAN, Dalhousie University, Canada
Peter MALLORY, St. Francis Xavier University, Canada and Laura ERAMIAN, Dalhousie University, Canada
Oral Presentations
Discourses of ‘Toxic’ Friendship: Rethinking the Everyday Realities of Friendship
Jenny VAN HOOFF, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom; Kinneret LAHAD, NCJW Women and Gender Studies Program, Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Meshwork: Friendships and Marriage in Contemporary Urban Japan
Laura DALES, The University of Western Australia, Australia
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