(K)ein zweites Ich. Freundschaft zwischen geschäftlichem Kalkül und innigem Gefühl
Conception: Rüdiger Zill, Potsdam
Participants: Petra Boden, Berlin; Anne Cronin, Lancaster; Oleg Kharkhordin, St. Petersburg; Andreas Kraß, Berlin; Katja Kraus, Hamburg; Sebastian Kühn, Hannover; Peggy Mädler, Berlin; Angela von Rahden, Berlin/Bremen; Janosch Schobin, Kassel; Björn Vedder, Herrsching a. Ammersee; Tanya Zaharchenko, Oslo
As the role of the family in everyday organization, social life, and elderly care has declined across much of Europe, another social relationship has come to the fore: friendship. A flood of self-help books has hit the market to instruct the public on what true friendships are and how to cultivate them. Much of this advice rests on a romantic idea of intimacy, whose earliest and best-known source is Michel de Montaigne’s eulogy to his deceased friend Etienne de la Boëtie. A very different model is provided by Leon Battista Alberti, who a century earlier described friendship as a calculated means of securing power and influence, especially in societies whose state institutions are weak. Today, friendship appears to be flourishing in the digital age, though many have wondered whether Facebook “friends” still merit the name. The conference investigates friendship in all its forms, the importance of emotion as a binding force, and the validity of earlier concepts of friendship in a rapidly changing world.