The only way to find out what is unique to specific societies and what recurs across human friendships is to review in a systematic manner the ways people have cultivated friendships in other places and times. This chapter therefore surveys the reports of anthropologists, missionaries, and travelers who have found themselves living in a wide range of cultures. Sifting through these reports, it asks several questions about the universality of friendship. Is something like friendship even practiced in most societies? And if so, are expectations of friends in Western contexts, such as honesty, secret sharing, emotional support, and material assistance, equally important in these communities? Whether for these or other reasons, documenting the kinship system of a culture became routine in anthropological fieldwork in the twentieth century.
Keywords: societies; friendships; cultures; friends; communities; kinship
Chapter. 11535 words. Illustrated.
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