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Friends, peers and higher education

Brooks, R (2007) Friends, peers and higher education British Journal of Sociology of Education, 28 (6). pp. 693-707.

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Theorists of friendship in contemporary society have suggested that our relationships with peers are characterised by their emphasis on openness, disclosure and emotional communication. Moreover, Beck and Beck-Gernsheim argue that friendship, as a deliberately sought, trusting partnership between two people, can play an important role in countering some of the negative consequences of a market-driven society, 'acting as a shared lifeline to take the weight of each other's confusions and weaknesses'. However, drawing on a series of in-depth interviews with students from nine different higher education institutions, this paper will argue that such theorists overlook significant complexity in the ways in which young adults choose to 'order' their friendships. Indeed, it will suggest that highly individualised and ruthlessly competitive approaches to academic study can be maintained alongside more socially cooperative relationships with friends and peers, played out in non-academic arenas. The paper will discuss the implications of this for both sociological theorising about friendship, and policy and practice within the higher education sector.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Department of Sociology
Authors :
Brooks, R
Date : 2007
DOI : 10.1080/01425690701609912
Additional Information : This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in British Journal of Sociology of Education, 2007, copyright Taylor & Francis, available online at:
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 23 Jul 2014 11:49
Last Modified : 23 Jul 2014 13:33

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