Author: Carla Risseeuw

This article is based on interviews with Dutch, mainly urban, respondents on the issue of changing trajectories of family and friendship in their lives, during the early years of 2000—one of the first periods of a retraction of the welfare state. The major question centered on the issues of family and friendship. As the (nuclear) families were becoming smaller in numbers over time, would friends take a larger share of their social life in future? Most informants assumed they would.

Nevertheless, giving shape to such life-transitions at times proved more challenging than was initially realized. Although families were becoming smaller, family bonds remained influential, irrespective of how they were evaluated. One could not be cut off from family as one could from friends. Noticeably, one could have a friend for a substantial period of time without meeting his or her family, due to the urban Dutch tendency to compartmentalize relations of of family and friendship.

In: Conceptualizing Friendship in Time and Place
The concept of friendship is more easily valued than it is described: this volume brings together reflections on its meaning and practice in a variety of social and cultural settings in history and in the present time, focusing on Asia and the Western, Euro-American world.
The extension of the group in which friendship is recognized, and degrees of intimacy (whether or not involving an erotic dimension) and genuine appreciation may vary widely. Friendship may simply include kinship bonds—solidarity being one of its more general characteristics. In various contexts of travelling, migration, and a dearth of offspring, friendship may take over roles of kinship, also in terms of care.

This introduction reflects on the different meanings of ‘friendship’ in diverse social and cultural settings as well as historical periods. It provides a sketch of the research on the topic in various fields of scholarship, and presents an overview of the several articles included in this volume. The review attached illustrates the scale on which friendship applies in different contexts, and summarizes some of the most common characteristics and values associated with the concept.

In: Conceptualizing Friendship in Time and Place
In: Conceptualizing Friendship in Time and Place
In: Conceptualizing Friendship in Time and Place
In: Conceptualizing Friendship in Time and Place