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The Compass of Friendship
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The Compass of Friendship
Narratives, Identities, and Dialogues



November 2008 | 248 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc
Friendship presents us with moments of significant choice in shaping our selves, other persons, relationships, and communities. But: What is the reach of friendship? How far can its practices extend in addressing significant similarities and differences arising between persons? How do close friends versus broader social involvements and participation serve well-being, identity formation, and life satisfaction? What happens to friendships in coursing across public and private circumstances? How might personal and civic friendships serve individual and community well-being? Just how useful and realistic are the ideals and activities of friendship for serving the well-lived life of individuals, groups, and larger collectivities?In Living Friendship, noted teacher, scholar, and writer Bill Rawlins explores these and other questions. Using a variety of examples and cases from literature, film, and everyday life, the book examines what conceptions of personal and civic friendship teach us about living responsibly with similarities and differences, and living in ways that facilitate both personal autonomy and social connection. Throughout the book the capacities of communicating in a spirit of friendship for co-creating and making choices with others are emphasized.
 
1. Introduction: Living Friendship
 
2. Making Choices as Communicators: Similarity, Difference, Individuation, and Participation
Perceiving Similarities and Differences  
Negotiating Contexts, Making Choices, and Creating Meanings  
Constructing Similarities and Differences of Self and Others  
Achieving and (Mis)Perceiving Identities Through the Dialectic of Individuation and Participation  
Categories and Identity Construction  
Modes of the Dialectic of Individuation and Participation  
 
3. Communicating Friendship: A Dialogue of Narratives and a Narrative of Dialogues
Storytelling Between Friends  
Practicing Dialogue Between Friends  
Narratives, Dialogues, and Friendships  
Interweaving Narrative and Dialogue in Discourses of Friendship  
Conclusion  
 
4. Making Meanings With Friends: Two Women?s Storytelling and Dialogue
Beginning the Conversation and the Story of Karen and Chris?s Friendship  
Narrating Diverging Life Paths  
Sharing Stories of Divorces and Traveling Together  
Side Two of the Tape ? Conversing About Pets and Policies  
Performing a Dialogue of Narratives About Conjunctive Freedoms  
Interweaving Narratives and Dialogue in the Talk of Two Friends  
 
5. Talking With College Students About Frontiers and Frustrations of Cross-Sex Friendships
Debating Cross-Sex Friendship  
Addressing Students? Positions on Cross-Sex Friendship  
Conclusion  
 
6. Pursuing Cross-Race Friendships in Personal, Sociocultural, and Historical Contexts
Constrained Cross-Race Friendship  
Blacks and Whites Engaging in Friendships: Asymmetrical Challenges and Edifying Practices  
Recognizing Meaningfully Whole Persons and Contingent Identities  
Accomplishing Cross-Race Friendship  
Making Choices, Learning Lessons, and Serving Social Becoming Through Cross-Race Friendships  
 
7. Embracing Ethical and Political Potentials of Friendships
Ethical Practices of Friendships  
Political Practices of Friendships  
Friendships and Social Change  
Limitations of Political Friendships  
 
8. The Compass of Friendship

"[R]awlins’s book provides a detailed and accessible explanation of friendship.[It] is intended for varying audiences, including students, professionals, social psychologists, and individuals curious about the nature of friendship. It is a good read, a textbook that will be useful to anyone seeking to know how to form friendships."

Sherine Ramzy
PsycCRITIQUES

"Author William K. Rawlins uses compelling examples and cases from literature, films, dialogue and storytelling between actual friends, student discussions of cross-sex friendships, and interviews with interracial friends."

Family Therapy

"His research is solid, his writing is clear and accessible, and his insights into the human condition-and most specifically that dialogical-narrative and negotiated relationship we call friendship-are keen. His" next word" on friendship has been long awaited and much needed in the field of communication studies."

Dr. Christopher N. Poulos
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

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