Friendship and the new politics:beyond community

Nordin, Astrid Hanna Maria and Smith, Graham M. (2018) Friendship and the new politics:beyond community. Global Discourse, 8 (4). pp. 615-632. ISSN 2326-9995

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What role can friendship play in contemporary politics? This article answers this question by showing how friendship supplements one of the central tropes of modern European thought: community. It argues that both the recent phenomenon of populism and more traditional political practice rely on this trope. This results in a politics which focuses on identity and difference, inclusion and exclusion. Ultimately this form of politics seeks an immanence which is impossible to achieve. In contrast, friendship offers a new way of thinking about politics as it focuses on open-ended relations between persons based not on sameness, but otherness and difference. The article articulates five key features of this understanding of friendship: (1) that it is a relationship; (2) between self and other; (3) which exists between the friends; which is (4) extendable into a network but not a unity; and (5) it eschews all programmes or projects. In this way, friendship suggests not a project or a programme, but an ethos. This article concludes by claiming that friendship is the open-ended and ongoing encounter with the other, and its politics holds a shared space open for the potential that this encounter brings.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Global Discourse
Additional Information:
This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Global Discourse on 21/08/2018, available online:
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Deposited On:
10 Aug 2018 14:28
Last Modified:
20 Sep 2023 01:14