The Practice of Friendship in Late Modernity
A central premise of this book is that the study of friendship provides critical insights into the way young people go about engaging with educational markets. Moreover, it argues that peer and friend relationships are themselves inextricably bound up with processes of educational ‘choice’. To provide a wider context for these debates, this chapter draws on sociological and psychological research to discuss the various ways in which friendship may be practised in late modernity. First, it outlines the alleged differences between friendships established in adolescence and those forged later in life, drawing largely on psychological studies that have focussed on the individual. Secondly, the chapter considers the way in which friendship is related to wider social structures and, in particular, the importance of the perception and maintenance of equality to the practice of such relationships. The chapter then moves on to discuss whether late modernity has witnessed a shift in the nature of friendship, in the ways suggested by theorists such as Beck, Giddens and Pahl. Finally, it focuses more specifically on the relationship between friendship and education. This part of the chapter discusses whether young people’s peer relationships are structured by the institutions in which they study or whether, in contrast, friendship groups provide a means through which young people can engage more creatively and actively with the education system around them.
KeywordsYoung People Friendship Group Female Friendship Friend Relationship Educational Choice
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