Nicolas Hayoz 1
  • 1 University of Fribourg, Bd de Pérolles 90, 1700 Fribourg, Switzerland

Political Friendship, Democracy and Modernity

2016, vol. 15, No. 4, pp. 13–29 [issue contents]
In modern society, friendship seems to be relegated to the private realm. When friendship enters the public space, it is usually associated with corruption. This is particularly the case when speaking about friends in politics, where friendship is part of informal politics which is focused on accessing or keeping political power. This relational aspect of political friendship must be distinguished from a more structural and institutional aspect of political friendship, which political philosophy presents in terms of civic friendship. This is the very meaning of the political, where a public space exists with the conditions that must be guaranteed for conflictual political communication or collective political action. In this sense, the idea and the theory of civic friendship points to the relational and organizational aspects of collective action, as well as to those shared norms that are expressed and negotiated in the public sphere. No serious sociological theory can ignore the fact that, nowadays, democracies in many regions of the world are put into question because it is no longer clear where the boundaries of trust, and therefore of citizenship are, or what holds people together, particularly in the context of globalization and immigration. In relation with the theories of trust, civic friendship is civil society, the civic and political culture about the practices and expectations in society about how to live, how to work together, how to communicate politically in order to influence politics, or how to change things. Finally, the political theory of friendship is also a warning against the abuse of power and the reintroduction of unity and enemies in a society based on the differences and multiplicity of perspectives.
Citation: Hayoz N. (2016) Druzhba, doverie i politika: izmenenie smysla kompleksnykh otnosheniy v demokratiyakh [Friendship, Trust, and Politics: Shifting Meanings of a Complex Relationship in Democracies]. The Russian Sociological Review, vol. 15, no 4, pp. 13-29
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