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Friendship Dynamics Between Emotions and Trials


  • Paola Rebughini



The aim of this article is to analyze friendship ties and the emotions connected to them in some particular phases of life: periods when subjects are faced with difficult challenges such as mourning, separation, job loss or illness. Under these circumstances, friendship ties and emotions take on exceptional intensity. To investigate this moments I will use the analytical concept of trial and I will outline its heuristic utility in the analysis of friendship ties. The article is based on a research project on the dynamics of friendship relationships among adults conducted in the urban area of the city of Milan. In order to shed light on the dynamics of friendship in difficult moments of life, the article is organized in three sections: in the first part, I will introduce some narratives collected during the research. In the second part, I will shed light on the way that trial phases of life are the periods in which the relation between friendship and emotions becomes more visible, in particular through the way that friendship bonds offer the possibility of narrating and sharing emotions themselves, thus introducing an element of reflexivity. In the third part, I will conclude by underlining the way that this kind of analysis of friendship ties can reveal some more structural dynamics of contemporary individualized society.

Suggested Citation

  • Paola Rebughini, 2011. "Friendship Dynamics Between Emotions and Trials," Sociological Research Online, Sociological Research Online, vol. 16(1), pages 1-3.
  • Handle: RePEc:sro:srosro:2010-60-2

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