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The Ways of Friendship

The Ways of Friendship

Amit Desai | Evan Killick


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Friendship is an essential part of human experience, involving ideas of love and morality as well as material and pragmatic concerns. Making and having friends is a central aspect of everyday life in all human societies. Yet friendship is often considered of secondary significance in comparison to domains such as kinship, economics and politics. How important are friends in different cultural contexts? What would a study of society viewed through the lens of friendship look like? Does friendship affect the shape of society as much as society moulds friendship? Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Europe, this volume offers answers to these questions and examines the ideology and practice of friendship as it is embedded in wider social contexts and transformations.

Amit Desai is Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. His research explores the connections between Hindu religious experience and nationalist identification among people in central India, and this has led him to consider questions of religious subjectivity, moral practice, power and transformations in personhood and sociality.

Evan Killick is Nuffield Foundation New Career Development Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Sussex, specialising in the study of Lowland South American societies. Working with both indigenous and mixed-heritage peoples in Peru and Brazil his work considers issues of race, indigeneity, land rights and development.

This is an excellent and timely volume. In some respects it is a playful volume: rather than claiming to provide answers, Desai and Killick invite the reader to join them on a fascinating and wide-ranging journey through contemporary meanings of friendship – I recommend that you take up the invitation!  ·  Journal of Biosocial Socience

The local focus of the anthropologists who contributed to this book allows for [a] contextualization in the way that many previous studies have not. In addition to its other fine qualities, this book is well and consciously edited. The themes in the introduction are faithfully addressed by each author. This foreshadowing, the cross-references between chapters, and the succinct summaries at the end of each chapter add to the coherence of this work and make it read more like a monograph than an edited collection. As a result, the reader must conclude that the study of friendship can no longer be neglected even if it has perhaps not assumed its place at the center of inquiries as the authors of this book collectively argue it should.  ·  Anthropos

…ideal for undergraduate teaching on sociality, personhood and relatedness, but [it] also opens up broader discussions on the discipline’s evolution beyond structuralism, bias on the institutional, and the friendship ties that bind anthropologists and the people they study with.  ·  Anthropological Notebooks

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
The Ways of Friendship i
Contents v
Acknowledgements vii
Introduction-Valuing Friendship 1
Chapter 1-On 'Same-Year Siblings' in Rural South China 20
Chapter 2-Ayompari, Compadre, Amigo: Forms of Fellowship in Peruvian Amazonia 46
Chapter 3-Friendship, Distance and Kinship-Talk Amongst Mozambican Refugees in South Africa 69
Chapter 4-Friendship, Kinship and Sociality in a Lebanese Town 93
Chapter 5-A Matter of Affection: Ritual Friendship in Central India 114
Chapter 6-Close Friends: The Importance of Proximity in Children's Peer Relations in Chhattisgarh, Central India 133
Chapter 7-Making Friends, Making Oneself: Friendship and the Mapuche Person 154
Chapter 8-The Value of Friendship: Subject/Object Transformations in the Economy of Becoming a Person (Bermondsey, Southeast London) 174
Afterword-Making Friendship Impure: Some Reflections on a (Still) Neglected Topic 197
Notes on Contributors 207
Index 209