Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/153221
Title: FRIENDSHIP IN MODERN SINGAPORE
Authors: OOI CAN SENG
Keywords: Friendship Singapore
Issue Date: 1993
Citation: OOI CAN SENG (1993). FRIENDSHIP IN MODERN SINGAPORE. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This thesis reconstructs the friendship situation in Singapore through the dialectical conception of interpersonal life. The dialectical approach is not unitary, and more accurately could be referred to as a cluster of theoretical perspectives that share in common a commitment to contradictions as the central organising feature of social life. It assumes and accentuates personal relationships as indeterminate processes of ongoing flux. Together with other sociological, psychological and ethological perspectives, various cultural and structural factors affecting the friendship situation in Singapore are examined. Friendship is constantly being managed and communicated, and a friendship relation is routinised and stabilised through interactional processes. However inherent in the interactional processes, there is a range of friendship maxims, morality and expectations that guide friendship actions. Equality, concern, helpfulness, for example, are expected between friends, and these ideas are reflected in friendship practices (Chapter 2). These ideas are also central in identifying the different relational qualities in friendship relations; frequently, good and close friends are discerned from ordinary friends on this basis (Chapter 6). Friendship is situated in society and culture. Sex, age, religion, social status, among other social divides, affect friendship network patterns. Structural demands in particular social environments, such as competition in school and status hierarchy in the workplace, influence people's interactional behaviour and their interpersonal relationships. It is also the case that friendship activities receive lower priority, especially when they compete with the other demands of a person's economic and familial responsibilities and obligations (Chapter 3). Although a person in Singapore has many close friends, most friendship relations a person has are limited in its scope of involvement. Such interactionally simple friendships arise from the many other demands of one's time, energy and resources, as well as, the compartmentalisation and specialisation of social domains. Nonetheless, the dominance of relatively weak friendship relations does not lead to a soulless, socially detached society (Chapter 6). Although bonding to a specific friend may be transient, the momentary sense of relatedness is significant in providing a person with an experience of interpersonal bonding. Moreover, the string of friends one has provides the feeling of control, assurance and comfort in the various circumstances one faces in the course of one's life. Also central in the understanding of friendship is the affective dimension. The affective dimension is a central organising factor in the management of a friendship relation. An experience encompasses both cognition and emotion, and there are different types of affectional experiences found in friendship. For instance, the sense of intimacy for a friend need not stem from an old, well-tested relationship, a new friend could also be a close friend. Various experiences of friendship intimacy in different social circumstances are discussed in Chapter 5. The dialectical approach also assumes that individuals are responsive agents. People manage their friendship in various ways, responding to their circumstances. Two friendship cultures, demonstrative friendship and pseudo-kin among friends, are examined (Chapter 4). The final discussion is on the significance of friendship as a social category of relationships in the everyday life of people in Singapore. The frequent change of one's dominant circles of friends stems from the ease in which a person can find friends in all social circumstances. And these friends are often part of a person's adaptive strategies in these situations. Consequently, one's friends is a pool of constantly changing but circumstantially relevant pool of resources, from which one can tap into. Undoubtedly, friendship will continue to be a significant relationship in Singapore society.
URI: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/153221
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Restricted)

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