Studies in Philosophy and Education

, Volume 30, Issue 3, pp 229–240 | Cite as

Civic Friendship



This paper seeks to examine the plausibility of the concept of ‘Civic Friendship’ as a philosophical model for a conceptualisation of ‘belonging’. Such a concept, would hold enormous interest for educators in enabling the identification of particular virtues, attitudes and values that would need to be taught and nurtured to enable the civic relationship to be passed on from generation to generation. I consider both of the standard arguments for civic friendship: that it can be understood within the Aristotelian typology as either a form of utility friendship or as a form of virtue friendship. I argue that civic friendship may not be the most appropriate model and that attempts to resolve the problems through looking on it as a political metaphor leave it unable to fulfil the function for which it was originally designed in Ancient Greece. Finally, I emphasize the need to carefully consider which particular metaphors we choose for civic relationships and how we subsequently use them.


Civic friendship Citizenship Civic bonds Political metaphor 



Many thanks to all who took part in the Second Stanford-Illinois Summer School and at The Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain conference in 2006 for their comments on an earlier version of this paper. Many thanks to Patricia White and Professor Suzy Harris for their insights and suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Froebel CollegeRoehampton UniversityLondonUK

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