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Friendship among some young English men and women residents in London, 1991-1992.

Rezende, Claudia Barcellos (1994) Friendship among some young English men and women residents in London, 1991-1992. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis examines the discourse and practice of friendship among a network of English men and women of ages between 25 and 30 years old, who are residents in London and most of who consider themselves to be middle class. This study aims at analysing concepts of the person prevalent in the discourse on friendship examined here. The definition of friendship is based on elements of sociability and of personal disclosure. 'Being oneself' with friends is the defining feature of close friendships and the aim of friendship in general. The person is perceived to have a 'true' self, which is emotive and revealed only to some people, and a controlled self, which is presented most of the time. The process of personal disclosure is gradual and requires trust. People with similar ways of thinking and behaving, which in turn reveal similar upbringing and class background, are better able to synchronize personal disclosure. But the notion that the person is influenced by class background conflicts with the belief in having freedom of choice, which is also significant for the people studied. Hence, the general dislike for class labelling. The value placed on friendship goes against the transience, impersonality, and predominance of market values in modern English society and especially in London. The sphere of work is associated with money making, hierarchy, and self-control. There is great emphasis on reversing these characteristics when not at work. Whether at the pub or at home, sociability with friends stresses values which are opposed to those found at work. Thus, in the context of the life in London, friendship appears to establish fixity, by keeping the familiarity of shared class backgrounds, and to reverse market and work values, by stressing sociability and personal disclosure.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Sociology, Social Structure and Development
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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