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Eclipsing a Grand Dichotomy—Placing Friendship in Public

  • Jennifer WilkinsonEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life book series (PSFL)

Abstract

This chapter situates friendship historically and theoretically in relation to the public–private distinction. This is a legacy of modern social science that can block our view of friendship today. The meaning and status of friendship changes depending on its position across this divide. Pre-modern friendships had public status because they contributed to communities and the common good. Modern friendships are personal relationships, which is where their status inheres. Friendship is also examined in relation to the modern family. According to the public–private distinction, friendship and families are grouped together. Although friendship and the modern family are both intimate and private, they are private in different ways. Friendship’s privacy comes from its voluntarism, which allows it to move across public and private boundaries.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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