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Friends, There Are No Friends? An Intimate Reframing of the International

Berenskoetter, Felix (2007) 'Friends, There Are No Friends? An Intimate Reframing of the International.' Millennium: Journal of International Studies, 35 (3). pp. 647-676.

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Abstract

This article offers an attempt to insert `friendship' into the reading of international relations, a conception which has so far remained outside the analytical focus of IR theorists. It suggests that a major reason for this omission is the common assumption of survival and the state as an autonomy-seeking entity, and it is argued that a conceptualisation of friendship as an intimate relationship must be rooted in an understanding of the human condition different from Hobbes. The article puts forward such an alternative through Heidegger's notion of anxiety and shows that the paradigm most sympathetic to this assumption, constructivism, has failed to account for the friend as the `significant other' capable of controlling anxiety. Against this backdrop, the argument is made that in their attempt to combine the desire for moral authenticity with the desire for belonging/recognition, individuals seek intimate relations. The importance of friendship is substantiated by drawing on Aristotle, highlighting equality and a unique logic of reciprocity as key features of friendship. The conceptual insights are applied to IR through a discussion suggesting that intimate relations are nevertheless political as they contain significant power potentials.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Politics and International Studies
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1177/03058298070350031501
Depositing User: Huei-Lan Liu
Date Deposited: 27 Aug 2009 13:29
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/7675

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