The Potential of Friendship: A Case for Social Resilience and New Care Optics

Robert Kulpa

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Edinburgh Napier University

Katherine Ludwin

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Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust




In this article, we call for greater recognition of friendship as a basic social relation that should play a pivotal role in re-imagining social resilience if it is to be future-proof in the face of social upheaval, such as the current pandemic. Drawing on existing research and early scoping of emergent information about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, we suggest that friendship is an important component of heterogenic social realities. The specific focus of our discussion is twofold. Firstly, attention is paid to the narrow lens of social policy that privileges particular familial set-ups and living arrangements, and in doing so marginalises groups which are already disenfranchised; secondly, we consider the dangers of nationalism and Eurocentrism as they relate to these issues. We suggest that thinking in terms of friendship can open up new avenues of academic and political imagination, offering strategies with greater potential for building socially resilient communities.


Keywords: friendship, social policy, wellbeing, pandemic, resilience.