Emotional reflexivity in contemporary friendships: Understanding it using Elias and Facebook etiquette

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Abstract

The popular social networking site Facebook has become a part of millions of people’s everyday lives. In order to help people navigate the friendships they form and maintain on Facebook there are many websites offering advice about etiquette. This advice, and responses to it, can help reveal how contemporary emotional expression is organised, especially as it relates to friendship. This paper critically adapts the approach of other sociologists such as Norbert Elias, and Cas Wouters who have used etiquette and advice books to explore social changes in emotionality. Using online advice about Facebook etiquette, it is argued that there is less emotional restraint within a climate of greater social equality. However, it is difficult to know how to feel and how to behave within the relational complexity of contemporary life. In particular, expanded definitions of friendship form part of this complexity which promotes and requires an ‘emotionalization of reflexivity’.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociological Research Online
Volume16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • Emotion
  • Friendship
  • Elias
  • Manners
  • Facebook
  • reflexivity

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