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The Academic Debate on Friendship and Politics

Heather Devere

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Devere, H. (2013) The Academic Debate on Friendship and Politics. AMITY: The Journal of Friendship Studies, 1:1, pp. 5-33. doi: 10.5518/AMITY/2


From the 1980s there has been a revival of the concept of friendship in the academic literature across a range of disciplines. Increasingly, the academic debate is invoking friendship as a model that might illuminate issues related to communication, citizenship, international relations, ethnic and cultural identity, peace and conflict. This review concentrates on published scholarly texts focusing on friendship (and selected on the basis of having ‘friend’ or ‘friendship’ in their title). After a brief look at the resurrection of friendship as a topic for scholarship, I will focus on books related to friendship and politics, published since 2000. Starting with Sibyl Schwarzenbach’s remarkable examination of the concept of civic friendship, I will examine how some of the main texts on the politics of friendship at the beginning of the 21st century have contributed to the debate about the possibility of a citizenship based on friendship, mutual respect, trust, and reciprocity.

Keywords: civic friendship; politics; philosophical; scholarship; feminist; Schwarzenbach

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