Friendship Reconsidered: What It Means and How It Matters to Politics

Hardcover | September 6, 2016

byP. E. Digeser

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In the history of Western thought, friendship's relationship to politics is checkered. Friendship was seen as key to understanding political life in the ancient world, but it was then ignored for centuries. Today, friendship has again become a desirable framework for political interaction. In Friendship Reconsidered, P. E. Digeser contends that our rich and varied practices of friendship multiply and moderate connections to politics. Along the way, she sets forth a series of ideals that appreciates friendship's many forms and its dynamic relationship to individuality, citizenship, political and legal institutions, and international relations.

Digeser argues that, as a set of practices bearing a family resemblance to one another, friendship calls our attention to the importance of norms of friendly action and the mutual recognition of motive. Focusing on these attributes clarifies the place of self-interest and duty in friendship and points to its compatibility with the pursuit of individuality. She shows how friendship can provide islands of stability in a sea of citizen-strangers and, in a delegitimized political environment, a bridge between differences. She also explores how political and legal institutions can both undermine and promote friendship. Digeser then looks to the positive potential of international friendships, in which states mutually strive to protect the just character of one another's institutions and policies. Friendship's repertoire of motives and manifestations complicates its relationship to politics, Digeser concludes, but it can help us realize the limits and possibilities for generating new opportunities for cooperation.

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In the history of Western thought, friendship's relationship to politics is checkered. Friendship was seen as key to understanding political life in the ancient world, but it was then ignored for centuries. Today, friendship has again become a desirable framework for political interaction. In Friendship Reconsidered, P. E. Digeser con...

P. E. Digeser is professor of political science at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Our Politics, Our Selves? Liberalism, Identity, and Harm (1995) and Political Forgiveness (2001), and the editor of Richard Flathman: Situated Concepts, Virtuosity Liberalism, and Opalescent Individuality (2016).

other books by P. E. Digeser

Format:HardcoverDimensions:392 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:September 6, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231174349

ISBN - 13:9780231174343

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroductionPart 11. Friendship as a Family of Practices2. Motivations, Actions, and the Value of Friendship3. Self-Interest, Duty, and Friendship4. Friendship and IndividualityPart 25. Civic Friendship6. Friendship During Dark Times7. Institutions for and Against FriendshipPart 38. Friendship and Friend in an International Context9. International Friendships of Character10. The Politics of International FriendshipsNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Can friendship be a high ideal of liberalism? How should it fit into politics? And how can it function between states? This carefully argued and elegant book deftly guides us through these questions with great subtlety, reminding us that practices of friendship vary, even as they share a family resemblance. Digeser's compelling ideal of friendship binds people while fostering their individuality and opens up attractive possibilities for politics within and between states.