This book is about friendships in public settings today. Wilkinson examines friendships in the public settings of neighbourhoods, civil society and at work. Identifying the unique relevance which public friendships have to contemporary social problems, the chapters cover a range of topics, including work-life balance, women’s ‘double burden’ and their leisure deficit, and contemporary neighbouring initiatives. Wilkinson shows how ‘friendship time’ at work provides solutions to new social problems including privacy: with the modern workplace being hyper-public and emphasizing visibility, monitoring and 24/7 availability, friendship’s combination of voluntarism and trust enable a private refuge even in an open-plan office. The book also explores the way in which friendships in public settings like work and neighbourhood provide community to those in society who are more likely to be excluded from private familial intimacy.
The Public Life of Friendship will be of interest to students and scholars across a range of social science disciplines with an interest in friendship and the sociology of personal life.