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Politics of Friendship

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Abstract

The final frame of Ridley Scott’s movie Thelma and Louise is frozen: it holds a ‘66 Thunderbird car in midair above the Grand Canyon, lit brightly in orange pink sunshine. Thelma and Louise are in it. Behind and above them in patrol vehicles and helicopters are the massed ranks of the police who have chased them across the state. The two women are seconds from certain death. And yet just before they flew over the edge, they warmly embraced and smiled: ‘You’re a good friend’, Thelma said, to which Louise replied, ‘You too, sweetie, the best.’ In other words, to see them only as about to die is to miss the moment. They are actually going to their freedom — the eternity of the final frozen frame. It captures the high point in their lives and their friendship has brought them to it.

Keywords

  • Male Friendship
  • Public Protest
  • Social Atomism
  • Civil Partnership
  • Civic Friendship

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Every real friendship is a sort of secession, even a rebellion.

C. S. Lewis

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Further Reading and References

  • Michael Farrell’s Collaborative Circles: Friendship Dynamics and Creative Work is published by University of Chicago Press (2003). My quotes come from his book. Not For Ourselves Alone, a film of Stanton and Anthony’s life from PBS, is available on DVD from Warner Home Video.

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  • Lillian Faderman’s Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love between Women from the Renaissance to the Present is published by HarperCollins (1998). The quote of

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  • Simone de Beauvoir comes from The Second Sex (Vintage Classics, 1997).

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  • Lillian Faderman’s Surpassing the Love of Men: Romantic Friendship and Love between Women from the Renaissance to the Present is published by HarperCollins (1998). The quote of

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  • Simone de Beauvoir comes from The Second Sex (Vintage Classics, 1997).

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  • Mary E. Hunt discusses her politics of friendship in Fierce Tenderness: a Feminist Theology of Friendship (Crossroad, 1991).

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  • My discussion of molly houses draws historical material from David Greenberg’s The Construction of Homosexuality (University of Chicago Press, 1988).

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  • Michael Vasey’s interpretation of their significance is in Strangers and Friends (Hodder and Stoughton, 1995).

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  • Foucault’s work on friendship can be hard to find, especially since it has become fashionable to attribute extreme constructionist accounts of sexuality to him. However, the thoughtful interview ‘Friendship as a Way of Life’ is in Foucault Live, edited by S. Lotringer (Semiotext(e), 1989). Jeremy Carrette’s Religion and Culture by Michel Foucault (Routledge, 1999) also contains useful material.

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  • Jeffrey Weeks’s research is published in Same-Sex Intimacies: Families of Choice and Other Life Experiments (Routledge, 2001).

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  • Anthony Giddens’s ideas are found in The Transformation of Intimacy (Stanford University Press, 1993).

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  • Liz Spencer and Ray Pahl’s latest research is due out as Hidden Solidarities: Friendship and Personal Communities Today in 2005 from Princeton University Press. Pahl’s On Friendship (Polity Press, 2000) is an accessible essay on friendship with a sociological slant.

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© 2005 Mark Vernon

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Vernon, M. (2005). Politics of Friendship. In: The Philosophy of Friendship. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230204119_7

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