Neighbours and Citizens

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


This chapter argues that friendship is not simply private and personal, that it has a public life, a life in civil society. The public aspects of friendship are demonstrated both by friends motivating each other to engage in volunteering, and by people creating new friendships in the course of volunteering and civic participation.This argument is intended to counter the influential line of sociological theorizing that portrays individualism as primarily self-interested or narcissistic. A personal concern with friendship or belonging or one’s own identity, it is argued, can connect to public agendas. Giving public expression to issues of personal identity is considered as something other than Richard Sennett’s ‘fall of public man’.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SydneySydneyAustralia

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