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The ideology of friendship in the era of Facebook

Miller, D; (2017) The ideology of friendship in the era of Facebook. HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory , 7 (1) pp. 377-395. 10.14318/hau7.1.025. Green open access

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This article suggests that while anthropologists have developed a highly nuanced analysis of kinship and friendship under a more general comparative study of relationality, this emphasis upon practice needs to be complemented by an alternative focus on the use of these terms as ideology, where we find a more simplistic and dualistic usage. The rise of new social media and the verb friending highlights a more general shift from the idea of fictive kinship to that of fictive friendship, where it is the ideals represented by the supposed voluntarism and authenticity of friendship that has now come to dominate the way people view kin relations. Evidence is provided from ethnographies in the Philippines, Trinidad, and England that illustrate the prevalence of a practice where kin relations reposition themselves under the idiom of friendship with both negative and positive consequences. This incorporation of kinship within friendship can also bring back a sense of rule and obligation, which has led to a decline in the use of Facebook by the young.

Type: Article
Title: The ideology of friendship in the era of Facebook
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.14318/hau7.1.025
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau7.1.025
Language: English
Additional information: This is the published version of record. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: friendship, social media, kinship, Facebook, England
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1568326
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