The Meta-Narrative of Strangers-Turned-Friends

  • Danny Kaplan
Part of the Cultural Sociology book series (CULTSOC)


This chapter unravels the symbolic cultural level of national solidarity discourse. National rhetoric reconciles two distinct tropes for close-knit ties, family and friendship, by invoking the figure of the “brother.” The magic of the national imagination lies not only in the transformation of strangers into friends but also in imagining these new friends as rediscovered brothers (and, only obliquely, sisters) of the same primordial tribe. Epitomizing the continuing demand for salvation in modern social life, this meta-narrative gives sacred meaning to mundane performances of sociability, operating as a set of binary codes that transform abstract, anonymous, inclusive, indifferent, and interest-based relations between strangers into concrete, familiar, intimately exclusive, loyal, and passionate relations between friends.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Anthropology and Gender Studies ProgramBar-Ilan UniversityRamat-GanIsrael

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