Week 12 - Friendships and the Culture of Intimacy Flashcards Preview

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Who are the main authors week 12 readings on Friendship and the Culture of Intimacy?

1. Davies K 2011.

2. Roseniel, S & Budgeon, S 2004


What does Roseniel, S & Budgeon, S 2004 discuss?

  • 1. To understand the current state of intimacy and care, the concept of ‘family’ and ‘heterosexuality should be decentralised.
  • 2. A criticism of family and gender is theorised in sociology.
  • 3. A focus on individuals not living with a partner.
  • 4. The centring of friendships and decentralising of sexual relationships.


According to Caine (2008), how are friendships seen today? What is the friendship importance equivalent to?

  • Today, friendships seen as an alternative to family, as important as mental health, subject to media attention. (Caine, 2008)


According to Rosneil and Budgeon (2004) early to mid twentieth century social theorists did not view friendship as significant for social life.

Why was this the case?

2 Answers.

A) classical theorists saw modernity (urbanisation and bureaucraticisation) as incompatible with intimacy. For example, George Simmel saw deep friendships as incompatible with the ‘individualised, specialised and competitive’ culture of modernity (in Ritzer and Goodwin, 2004).

B) There was (and is) a preoccupation heterorelationality in sociology and friendships (and other relationships outside the family) ‘decentre the primary significance that is commonly granted to sexual partnerships and mount a challenge to the privileging of conjugal relationships in research on intimacy’ (Rosneil and Budgeon, 2004; 138).


Elaborate "friendships can be a social glue".

Who theorised this concept?

Ray Phahl (2000):

friendship can be a social glue:

  • 1) friends are increasingly relied on for social support
  • 2) increasing expectations about the emotional quality of our friendships.


Explain the relevance of Giddens (1991) pure relationship and friendships.

Giddens (1991) argues that friendships are examples of pure relationships because they only continue as long as both parties are satisfied (traditional and obligation are less likely to get in the way, as they do in family and romantic relationships).


Giddens (1991) thinks that the pure relationship ideal comes from the friendships women have had. Why?

Women were considered emotionally closer and are constituted by mutual disclosure.


"friendship is non-threatening in an individualised world"

Who theorised this?

Beck and Beck-Gernsheim (1995):


Who theorises this? 

"friendships over family tends to be limited in time"

elaborate on this concept

Allen (1996, 2008)

Friendships are limited by social factors such as domestic obligation.


Phal (2000), suggests that friendships can be as difficult to end as the family. How does this relate to the pure relationship?

Friendships may not be a 'pure relationship' as theorised by Giddens (1992).

This is because people come to rely on friend to provide support and confirmation of their enduring identities.


Bottero (2005) discusses 'homophily'. What is it?

We tend to form friendships with those who are from similar social and geographical positions. 


What does who theorises about the impact of technology on friendships?

Sherry Turkle.


What are the 5 points or concepts developed by Sherry Turkle:

  1. Technology has become the architect of our intimacy
  2. We’re lonely but afraid of the demands of intimacy so we turn to technology that we use to control our intimacies (so that we have just the right amount)
  3. We clean up rich, messy and demanding relationships with technology and this depletes our intimacies
  4. To overcome isolation we connect but if we aren’t able to be alone then we will feel more lonely and we are more likely to use superficial connections to make us feel better
  5. The good news: we can change


Weeks et al (2001) and Roseniel (2000a) draws attention to the 'blurring of boundaries' and the movement between friendship and sexual relationships.

Elaborate on this point.

  1. friendship and sexual relationships which often characterizes contemporary lesbian and gay intimacies.
  2. Friends become lovers, lovers become friends, and many have multiple sexual partners of varying degrees of commitment (and none).
  3. Moreover, an individual’s ‘significant other’ may not be someone with whom she or he has a sexual relationship.


What does Anthony Gidden's (1992) argument about the 'transformation of intimacy' and Back and Elisabeth Beck-Gernshiem's (1995, 2002) work on the changing meanings in practice of love and family relationship suggest about the process of the contemporary world?

The contemporary world process of individualization and detraditionalization and increased self-reflexivity are opening up new possibilities and expectations of on heterosexual relationships.


Elaborate on Gidden's (1992) 'transformation of intimacy'

(3 concepts)

  1. He refers to the changing nature of marriages such as the emergence of 'pure relationships' characterized by 'confluent love'
  2. Such concepts have developed into a 'plastic sexuality' where people are being freed from the 'needs of reproduction.
  3. Lesbians and gay men are 'pioneers' in the 'pure relationship' and plastic sexuality.


What does Beck and Berk-Gernshiem (2002) argue in the context of family and relationships.

  1. The ethic of individual self-fulfillment and achievement is the most powerful in current modern society
  2. Individuals now believe the desire to be 'a deciding, shaping human beings who aspire to be the author of their own life.
  3. Individual self-fulfillment is having a significant change in the way family is being shared in modern times.
  4. The concept of the 'family' has turned from a 'given' to a 'matter of choice'


Roseneil and Budgeon conclude that individuals living individualised existances are choosing to centre their personal lives around friendship, and toe decentre sexual partnerships which challenge hetero-relational social order.

How does work as a process?

(3 Points)

  1. Care and support flow between individuals with no biological, legal or social recognised ties to each other.
  2. Domestic space is reconfigured, its association to the nuclear family or conjugal couple is challenged
  3. The non-normative culture of intimacy and care emerge which are not seen as radical. 


What does Katherine Davies consider in her work?

  1. The significance of friendship for personal life
  2. The sociological exploration of friendship and the complexities ranging from of defining 'friends' to addressing the concept of friendships in the changing social world.
  3. The idea friendships are always positive through 'choice'
  4. The fundamentally different forms of relationship with kin.


Who draws attention to this term 'personal community'?

What does it mean?

+ points for years

Liz Spencer and Ray Pahl (2006).

'Personal community' denotes people's network of friends and associate'


What does Davies, K (2011) say about the definition of 'friendship'?

  1. The term 'friendship' is difficult to define.
  2. There are various 'types' of friends in your life with diverse complex friendships.
  3. Terms like 'friend', 'family member', 'colleague', 'nieghbour' or 'acqauntance' are often blurred.
  4. The term 'personal community' goes around this problem of applying definitive categories.


According to who, what are 'repertoires'?

According to Spencer and Pahl (2006), 'repertoires' show:

  1. the different types of friends people have in their 'personal communities' and
  2. the 'constellation of friendships' people have (the range of relationships which make up the personal community)


What example does Spencer and Pahl (2006) provide to explain the range of complexity, from the very simple to the highly complex?

(4 Examples)

  1. 'Associates friends': Sharing a common activity such as someone you sit next to in class. The friendship does not continue outside those parameters.
  2. 'Fun friends': More complex than 'associate friends', but still a simple friendship as it does not extend beyond the fun norms of society.
  3. 'Comforter': Those who provide emotional support
  4. 'Soulmates': The most complex. Friends that confide, provide emotional support and help each other and also having fun.


What does Davies, K (2011) argue in regards to friendships and personal communities within the context of new technologies?

(2 Points)

Davies (2011) sugguests:

  1. that technologies appear to he enhancing ties which still require face-to-face contact.
  2. technologies are creating new ways of 'doing' friendship which supplement, rather than replace, existing practices of friendships.


Explain the "individualization thesis" by Beck & Beck-Gershiem (1995)

  1. Also known as the "de-traditionalisation thesis"
  2. Society with traditions and social rules are understood to be on the decline.
  3. This includes the way family relationships prescribe roles.
  4. The role of individual choice in the way we do relationships is becoming increasingly significant.


What is the relevant of Beck & Beck-Gershiem (1995) of the individualization thesis on friendships and intimacy?

Individual choice has made the idea of friendships an increasingly significant relationship which captures the 'zeigeist' (the spirit of the times).


In Daives, K (2011) article, what does Giddens (1991) argue in relations to the discussion of the 'pure relationship' in the context of friendships

  1. Friendships capture the voluntarism and democracy of the pure relationship. 
  2. Friendships are relational as the rewards of the friendship is the relationship in itself.
  3. Distinct from kinship relationship, a friendship remains as long as the sentiments of closeness are reciprocated for its own sake.
  4. Modern friendships can be typified as the pure relationship as it survives as long as both parties derive enough satisfaction from it. 


These three theorists (1. Who?) argue that in some non-heterosexuals' friends can take on some functions traditionally performed by family members. 

2. What does this do traditional ties?

3. Why do some non-heterosexual communities describe their friends as 'family'? 

  1. Jeffrey Weeks, Brian Heaphy and Catherine Donovan (2001) 
  2. Chosen ties  are seen to replace traditional ties in some contexts
  3.  Due to their exclusion from heterosexual institutions of family and marriage, the experience of support derives from friendships, rather than the traditional family;


According to who, argues that friendships are in fact limited in choice?

Graham Allen (1996)


What does Graham Allen (1996) mean by the 'limits of choice in friendship'?

  1. Friendships are not just freely chosen
  2. They are developed in a wider network of people's lives.
  3. Friendships are governed by social factors, as well as a choice.
  4. Therefore, there is limited control of 'choice' as they are constrained by aspects of social organization