Working out intimacy: young people and friendship in an age of reflexivity

McLeod, Julie 2002, Working out intimacy: young people and friendship in an age of reflexivity, Discourse : studies in the cultural politics of education, vol. 23, no. 2, pp. 211-226, doi: 10.1080/0159630022000000787.

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Title Working out intimacy: young people and friendship in an age of reflexivity
Author(s) McLeod, Julie
Journal name Discourse : studies in the cultural politics of education
Volume number 23
Issue number 2
Start page 211
End page 226
Publisher Department of Education, University of Queensland
Place of publication St. Lucia, Qld.
Publication date 2002-08
ISSN 0159-6306
Keyword(s) education policy
Summary Drawing upon a longitudinal, interview-based study of Australian secondary school students, this article explores young people's friendship experiences and attitudes to intimacy and the interpersonal. The discussion develops in relation to the work of Anthony Giddens on detraditionalisation and reflexivity, and Nikolas Rose on modernity and the self. First, I argue that feminism and psychotherapeutic ways of constituting and knowing the self are reconfiguring the cultural meanings of intimacy. Second, I suggest that this reworking of intimacy has differential and uneven effects and has particular consequences for the production of gendered subjectivities. Third, I raise some critical questions about the extent to which either Giddens's or Rose's account can properly capture the gendered and situated experiences of intimacy. I offer examples in which gender is being rearticulated in new yet familiar ways and note some persistent tensions in desires for connection and community versus autonomy and freedom. Carol Gilligan's work on gender differences in orientations to autonomy and connection is briefly revisited. Overall, it is argued that we need to take more account of how class, location and schooling differences influence dispositions to friendship and the interpersonal, and this is elaborated through a discussion of the 'relationship orientations' of two white Australian young men.
Language eng
DOI 10.1080/0159630022000000787
Field of Research 160809 Sociology of Education
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2002, Taylor & Francis Ltd
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