Friendship and education

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Friendship and education. Today received wisdom has it that educators should be friendly with those they work with, but not friends. But is this right? We examine the nature of friendship – and ask whether its cultivation should be an aim of educators and part of education. We also explore the possibilities and problems friendship holds for the theory and practice of informal educators.

contents: introduction · the nature of friendship · friendship and the aims of education · friends as educators · the educative nature of friendship · educators as friends · conclusion · further reading and references · links · how to cite this article
linked article: friendship theory and the experience of friendship


Seventy years ago or so Basil Henriques argued that the head of a boys club had two outstanding features. These were:

(a) To get to know and to understand really well every individual member. He must have it felt that he is their friend and their servant.

(b) To direct the activities, organize the whole work, and satisfy himself that it is being carried out efficiently and satisfactorily. He must co-ordinate all efforts made by his helpers, the officers and the boys, and see that all are working harmoniously and happily together. (Henriques 1933 : 61)

Talk of service by, and friendship with, youth workers and informal educators may seem rather quaint. The context in which they operate and the language they use to name what they do has changed. An emphasis on ‘professionalism’ has led to a stronger focus on particular boundaries within informal education, and distance between educators and those they work with. The general move away from more open and associational work with groups to individualized case work and outcome-focussed groupwork has also entailed an important shift in focus and relationship. For example, ‘members’ have become ‘clients’ or ‘customers’. With the rise of project and short-term work in many informal education settings there often is only limited space for relationships to develop; and work has been increasingly constrained in a large number of countries by state intervention and bureaucratic requirements. These movements have led some informal educators to revisit earlier ways of making sense of their role, to think about what they do, for example, in terms of vocation rather than ‘profession’. One aspect of this rethinking concerns friendship.

The nature of friendship

An immediate problem we have in this area, as Graham Allan (1996: 85) has commented, is that there is a lack of firmly agreed and socially acknowledged criteria for what makes a person a friend. In one setting we may describe someone as a friend, in another the label may seem less appropriate. The word ‘friend’ in English can cover a range of close informal relationships. This means that its use without qualification ‘can be highly ambiguous’ (Pahl 2000: 1). What is more, as can be seen in our discussion of friendship theory, surprisingly little research has been undertaken into contemporary patterns and experiences of friendship in northern societies. We may have a very thin understanding of what friendship entails.

Here we have followed a number of writers and drawn upon a more classical appreciation. Bellah et. al. (1996: 115), returning to Aristotle, suggest that the classical idea of friendship has three components: ‘Friends must enjoy each other’s company, they must be useful to one another, and they must share a common commitment to the good’. In contemporary western societies, it is suggested, we tend to define friendship in terms of the first component, and find the notion of utility a difficult to place within friendship.

What we least understand is the third component, shared commitment to the good, which seems to us quite extraneous to to the idea of friendship. In a culture dominated by expressive and utilitarian individualism, it is easy for us to understand the components of pleasure and usefulness, but we have difficulty seeing the point of considering friendship in terms of common moral commitments. (op. cit.)

Many contemporary writers in the west tend to present friendship as private, voluntary, and happening between autonomous individuals. According to this view ‘friendship becomes a special relationship between two equal individuals involved in a uniquely constituted dyad’ (Bell and Coleman 1999: 8). This contrasts in key respects with the classical view, and derives from a particular view of selfhood. Some conceptualizations draw from both classical and more modern concerns.

Friendship is a relationship built upon the whole person and aims at a psychological intimacy, which in this limited form makes it, in practice, a rare phenomenon, even though it may be more widely desired. It is a relationship based on freedom and is, at the same time, a guarantor of freedom. A society in which this kind of relationship is growing and flourishing is qualitatively different from a society based on the culturally reinforced norms of kinship and institutional roles and behaviour. (Pahl 2000: 163-4)

However, as Graham Allan (1989) has argued, relationships that are often presented as voluntary, informal and personal, still operate within the constraints of class, gender, age, ethnicity and geography – and this places a considerable question against the idea that friendship is a matter of choice.

In our review of the theory and experience of friendship we began to see some of the questions that arise for educators. As might be expected from the above, it is especially helpful to return to more classical understandings of friendship to illuminate current ideas and experiences, and the possibilities for informal education. Here we want to begin by looking at friendship as an aim, and then highlight two particular themes that have played a significant part in the history of the adult education and youth work movements in Britain: friends as educators; and the educative character of friendship. Later, we will look at some of the implications this discussion of friendship has for the practice of educators.

Friendship as an aim of education

The efficacy of the cultivation of friendship as an aim of education is clear from our discussion elsewhere (friendship theory). First, we can make a case for facilitating learning around friendship at what might be called an individual or personal level. There is some empirical evidence that people who are able, and have the opportunity, to develop significant friendships are happier. If we follow the developmental models of friendship suggested by many social psychologists then there is also a case for the cultivation of friendship by educators as an important dynamic in the fostering of adulthood. There are, however, some important objections to attend to. The depth and range of the empirical evidence concerning friendship is less conclusive than it may first seem. Much of the material emanating from social psychology has tended to both look to the positive (rather than negative) aspects of friendship, and has failed to properly attend to the lived experience of friendship (see the various discussions in, for example, Bukowski et. al. 1996). A further, obvious, question concerns the extent to which it is friendship as such that helps facilitates happiness or whether it is other factors that simply happen to be present in friendships – and which can also be found elsewhere. One answer to the latter point may well be that such qualities may be found elsewhere, but from our discussion it would appear that friendship is such a pervasive experience – so should be addressed – and that it is difficult to think of other voluntary relationships that have such an apparent depth of the sorts of desirable qualities discussed by classical and modern theorists.

Second, we need to bear in mind the social aspect of friendship and the extent to which it creates the possibilities of cooperation and mutual aid; and the way in which it can contribute to an appreciation of others. To enjoy another’s company entails encountering them in some significant way. The cultivation of the disposition, capacity and environment for friendship would appear to be desirable on these grounds alone. There is freedom and reciprocity within the forms of friendship discussed by Bellah et. al. (1996) and others (after <href=”#classical”> Aristotle). Indeed, Agnes Heller (1998: 10) has argued that, ‘friendship is the most beautiful emotional attachment because it is freely chosen, freely cultivated; it flourishes in reciprocity, mutual possession and mutual self-abandon’.

Third, there is a crucial, civic, concern. If we follow Aristotle, friends share a common commitment to the good. Friends in their interactions, thus, help to develop people’s moral experience. Friendship, thus, works to sustain the life of communities. However, it does need to be borne in mind here that the structural and political arrangements in within which friendship flourishes (or languishes) are of fundamental importance. Civic virtue may be encouraged by the quality of friendships, but it requires a convivial forum in which to be exercised and nurtured.

A fuller appreciation of friendship shares some important commonalities with the notion of fellowship. Fellowship was a key focus for British and Irish social and political thought in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries – and which found its way into the discourse of adult education via the activities of R. H. Tawney and others.

Education… though it is much else as well, is partly, at least, the process by which we transcend the barriers of our isolated personalities, and become partners in a universe of interests which we share with our fellow-men, living and dead alike. No one can be fully at home in the world unless, through some acquaintance with literature and art, the history of society and the revelations of science, he has seen enough of the triumphs and tragedies of mankind to realize the heights to which human nature can rise and the depths to which it can sink. (Tawney 1914; 1966: 87-8)

Fellowship, in Tawney’s view was not just a matter of feelings, but ‘a matter of right relationships‘ which are institutionally based‘ (Terrill 1973: 199). In other words, fellowship is both a quality of individual relationships, and the organizations and systems of which people are a part.

Friends as educators

Basil Yeaxlee (1925: 157) quoted with some approval the following description of the way in which the Working Men’s College in London worked.

[T]here is no distinction of college or academic rank between teachers and the taught. The teachers at one class are often students at another. We are friends educating each other. (Trevelyan 1904: 198)

It was a theme that Eduard Lindeman also highlighted. He commented, ‘Authoritative teaching, examinations which preclude original thinking, rigid pedagogical formulae – all of these have no place in adult education’ (1926: 7).

The idea of friends educating each other has a long history within the adult education movement. In north America there was, for example the lyceum movement (originally proposed by Joseph Holbrook in the 1820s). Initially conceived as local literary and scientific associations of adults for mutual improvement, they took their place alongside other efforts at ‘self education’ such as reading circles (see Kett 1994). In Britain, there was an explosion in mutual improvement societies – cooperative ventures in education. As Rose argues in his classic (2001) study of British working class intellectual life these initiatives can be viewed as an expression of the explosion in membership of friendly societies during the nineteenth century (by 1880 around 75 to 80 per cent of working class men belonged to a friendly society). Friendly societies had, of course, been in existence for centuries – but they were first regulated by Act of Parliament in 1793. As Beveridge (1948: 22) has suggested, the essence of a friendly society ‘is that men who know one another pay money regularly into a common fund in order to able to draw on that fund when they are in need’. Mutual improvement societies can be defined simply as ‘a friendly society devoted to education’ (Rose op. cit.).

In its classic form, [a mutual improvement society] consisted of half a dozen to a hundred men from both the working and lower-middle classes who met periodically sometimes in their own homes but commonly under the auspices of of a church or chapel. Typically, at each meeting one member would deliver a paper on any imaginable subject – politics, literature, religion, ethics, “useful knowledge” – and then the topic would be thrown open to general discussion. The aim was to develop the verbal and intellectual skills of people who had never been encouraged to speak or think. There was complete freedom of expression, the teacher-pupil hierarchy was abolished, and costs were minimal. (Rose 2001: 58)

Such groupings were part of a range of initiatives including reading circles, drama groups, and libraries that were part of the mutual improvement tradition. They ‘relied on working-class initiative rather than state provision or middle-class philanthropists’ (op. cit.).

Within youth work there has been a parallel interest in friends as educators. It has similarly taken two forms: conceptualizing the youth worker or leader as a friend to young people; and looking to the role of peers as teachers. While the former has tended to become rather unfashionable within professionalized youth agencies, it still has a strong presence within social movement work – and particularly practice linked to churches. Settlements, too, were explicitly constructed around a notion of friendship and the idea that all should share in community. Samuel Barnett (1884: 272) argued that if men and women from universities lived for some time among the poor in London and in other cities, they could ‘do a little to remove the inequalities of life’. They would share ‘their best with the poor and learn through feeling how they live’ (op. cit.). Through working for friendship based on trust, and government inspired with ‘a higher spirit’, ‘everything which is Best will be made in love common to all’ (ibid.: 273). Later he was to write:

A settlement is simply a means by which men or women may share themselves with their neighbours; a club-house in an industrial district, where the condition of membership is the performance of a citizen’s duty; a house among the poor, where residents may make friends with the poor. (Barnett 1898: 26)

Within settlement adult education and youth work programmes there was also an emphasis on association among peers.

While the scale and scope of mutual improvement of these kinds has reduced over the years (in part because of the development of the formal education system, the emergence of other educative forms such as television, and more recently, the decline in membership of community and civic groups – see, for example, Robert Putnam’s discussion of social capital), there is still a significant amount of such activity. Reading circles, Bible study groups, learning circles and the various efforts at deepening understanding associated with different social movements are examples of such efforts. There has, however, been an explosion in virtual mutual improvement activities via such mechanisms as discussion lists, bulletin boards and chat rooms on the internet.

An important question at this point concerns the extent to which such activities involve the actions of friends. An important, and obvious, point here is that it is often a common or shared task or commitment that confers ‘friendship’. For example, Quakers have, from the start been described as ‘Friends’

They recognize a bond of unity among themselves, but have never appropriated the title of ‘church’, preferring to call themselves a ‘society’ only. The basis of the unity they feel with one another is not doctrine but an attitude which gave rise to one of their earlier names ‘Friends of Truth’. (Punshon 1984: 1)

There is a very real sense that those gathered to explore questions and issues in the name of education are similarly ‘friends of truth’. We can see here how, to return to <href=”#classical”>Aristotle, there is here both a concern with a key aspect of what might be considered as ‘the good’, and utility. There may even be pleasure in other’s company. However, such ‘pleasure in cooperation, in talking shop’ can be viewed as ‘companionship’ rather than full-blown ‘friendship’ between individuals – although it may well grow into that. As C. S. Lewis commented, friendship often arises out of shared activity:

Friendship arises out of mere Companionship when two or more of the companions discover that they have in common some insight or interest or even taste which the others do not share and which, till that moment, each believed to be his own unique treasure (or burden). The typical expression of opening Friendship would be something like, ‘What? You too? I thought I was the only one’. (Lewis 2002: 78) (see C. S. Lewis on friendship)

Here, then, we can see how the shared pursuit of learning can lead both to friendship between participants, and friendship of truth. The companionship and relationships involved can further a sense of community or fellowship and help to build the networks and trust that writers like Robert Putnam have described as social capital. We can also see how the relationship between educators and those they are working with can develop from the process of guiding or ‘accompanying’ people in their search for understanding (Christian and Green 1998) into friendship. This development is often accidental or incidental. The shared excitement in the subject, the experience of discovery, and the search for further insight and knowledge can bring people closer together.

The educative character of friendship

We can now turn to the extent to which friendship of itself entails conscious learning of the type that we can call ‘education’. Adams and Allen (1998) argue that our friends, in numerous ways, ‘challenge our pretensions and evaluate our claims, all the while confirming our personal and structural identity’. Alongside involvement in associations they can be said to help to create ‘habits of the heart’: mores that allow people to connect with each other and the wider community (see Bellah et al 1996). However, if the relationship does not involve what Aristotle talks about as moral excellence – and this may be about the constraints of the context in which it is formed – friendship can also lead to a pulling away from community and may be damaging to people’s well-being. In all this there is learning but is it education?

Here we are approaching ‘education’ as both entailing an intent to foster learning, and moral sense or conscience. In other words, for something to be called ‘education’ there has be a conscious effort to facilitate learning informed by a clear commitment to certain values and ideals. These values include a respect for persons; a concern for human flourishing, and a commitment to truth and justice (Jeffs and Smith 1999: 14-6). ‘Education’ has to be elevating and animating. It is an activity of the heart (Doyle 2001). Once this moral dimension is recognized it is then very easy to see how friendship – where it involves virtue – is educative. As Ray Pahl (2000: 22) states in relation to <href=”#classical”>Aristotle, virtuous friends ‘enlarge and extend each other’s moral experience’. He continues, ‘the friends are bound together, as they recognize each other’s moral excellence. Each can be said to provide a mirror in which the other may see himself’. In this we love the other person for their own sake not just for what they are or what they can offer, and we put the interests of the other before our own. We can also see that we are separate and different from each other. Through observation, reflection and dialogue we come to know ourselves and the other. This is a conscious activity. We are engaged in deliberate learning (self-education) and the facilitation of learning by the other. It is undertaken by people seeking to live a good life. The moral excellence of friendship, ‘involves a high level of development and expression of the altruistic emotions of sympathy, concern and care – a deep caring for and identification with the good of another from whom one clearly knows oneself to be clearly other’ (Blum 1980: 71).

Friendship of this kind necessarily involves conversations about well-being and of what might be involved in living the good life. Through networks of friends, Aristotle seems to be arguing, we can begin to develop a shared idea of the good and to pursue it. Friendship, in this sense, involves sharing in a common project: to create and sustain the life of a community, ‘a sharing incorporated in the immediacy of an individual’s particular friendships’ (MacIntyre 1985: 156).

Where friendship is based on utility or pleasure then there is less of a case for viewing it as inherently educative (although it may well entail learning). The tasks that are shared may well involve some explicitly moral dimension – but this is not automatic.

Before leaving our discussion of the educative nature of friendship it is worth considering how we learn to be a friend. While there are various things that it might be helpful to know about friendship, it is only through experiencing friendship that we can begin to properly understand, appreciate and practice being a friend. In some ways the difference here involves what Gilbert Ryle (1949) has termed ‘knowing that‘ and ‘knowing how’.

Learning how or improving an ability is not like learning that or acquiring information. Truths can be imparted, procedures can only be inculcated, and while inculcation is a gradual process, imparting is relatively sudden. It makes sense to ask at what moment someone became apprised of a truth, but not to ask at what moment someone acquired a skill. (Ryle 1949: 58)

The behaviour of others and the extent to which it crosses, or remains within, the boundaries of one’s friendship is a feature of many peoples’ conversations. ,

Educators as friends

There are a number of practical questions for educators in this discussion of friendship. There is a strong case for the fostering of the capacity for friendship as an aim of education. As a result there are some important implications for the way in which we look to organize educational encounters – and we will examine some of these later. In addition, as we have seen, there are some profound issues around the way we might see ourselves. Perhaps the most significant of these is the extent to which we might understand our relationship with learners as friendship. It is vital to address this question – for just who we are is of fundamental importance. As Martin Buber has argued, education proceeds from the person of the educator:

Everything depends on the teacher as a man, as a person. He educates from himself, from his virtues and faults, through personal example and according to circumstances and conditions. His task is realize the truth in his personality and to convey this realization to the pupil. (Martin Buber reported in Hodes 1975: 146-7)

From the preceding discussion it is clear that educators and learners can easily become ‘friends of truth’ – we can come to share an orientation to the pursuit of knowledge and understanding. However, do we become friends in the interpersonal sense?

If we return to Aristotle it fairly obvious that the relationship between educators and learners can have utility. They can be useful to one another. Both can learn from the encounter – and there may be both benefits and a sense of fulfilment and worth from the relationship. Both educators and learners may share a common commitment to the good. This was and is, perhaps, more obviously recognized where they have a shared identity with and commitment to, a social movement, institution or set of beliefs. Examples here might include educational encounters within churches and clubs. In these circumstances educators may well talk about their relationships with learners in terms of friendship. Not only are they ‘friends of truth’, they are members of a particular community. As such they have a commitment to each other, and are part of what Josephine Macalister Brew (1943) once described as a community in the process of educating itself. There can also be pleasure in one another’s company. It is within this sort of framework that earlier generations of informal educators, adult educators and youth workers could talk about offering friendship to the members of the groups they were working with.

If we are not in youth work because of our love of our fellow men we have no business there at all. This burning love of humanity always meets with response, though not always in the ways we most care for, but nowadays as much youth work is ruined by too much restraint as by too much exuberance. Fear to exert undue influence, fear to assert authority when necessary, conscientious scruples about this and that – are all contributory factors. But young people want to know where they are and they need the friendship of those who have confidence and faith. (Brew 1957: 112-3)

The problem is that as we enter more ‘professionalized’ discourses friendship tends to be both stripped of much of its moral dimension and utility, and lose touch with the supporting language and thinking. Words like boundary, client, delivery, intervention and outcome replace the language of friendship, member, association, relationship and faith. As a result it is acceptable that practitioners are friendly, but not that they are friends with those with whom they work. It can be seen as a move from a concern with practical wisdom and desire to act truly and rightly (what Aristotle talks about as phronesis) to a focus on on what is correct (according to bureaucratic rules) and technique (techne).

Four objections

So can educators be friends with those with whom they work? Here it is useful to bear in mind that this can entail both a broader friendship with a group and specific friendship with an individual. The former may be more acceptable within professionalized discourses. Being a friend to a group – because of its more diffuse nature might escape some of the force of the one of the charges most often made against educators being friends with learners – that friendship can lead to favouritism. Of course there the worker may favour working with one group rather than another – and this could cause some resentment. However, it can be argued that to be a friend to a group involves a rather different relationship to being a friend to an individual. It entails making a commitment to a collectivity and attending to the functioning of a network of relationships so that the group may be of benefit to its members. The charge of favouritism can also be answered with regard to friendship with both individuals and groups when we consider the nature of friendship. If it remains within the narrow domain of gaining pleasure from another’s company, or even utility, then the possibility of favouritism remains strong. If, however, a proper consideration of the moral dimension of friendship is taken into consideration, then such favouritism as exists needs to be justified. Some judgement has to be made as to whether the attention, concern and resources made available to one individual or group over others is the action of a good man or woman. Does it reflect a concern to live life well and to foster human flourishing? In those settings where there is a more overt concern with such questions, for example within some religious, mutual aid and political groupings, then there would seem to be a stronger chance of the actions of educators being interrogated in this way.

A further charge often raised with regard to the friendships of educators with learners is that it can be a reflection of educators attending to their needs (for example, to be liked and appreciated) above those of learners. Many educators may well be placing undue weight on meeting their needs above those of learners. However, this may have nothing to do with friendship but simply flow from a concern to get the job done so that they can get their pay and go and do something else. It may be that the educators concerned are unaware of the nature of their actions – they may have only a limited grasp of their motivations and orientations. This brings back, again, to the importance of knowing your self. Beyond that there is the familiar question of educators’ (and friends’) shared commitment to the good. If educators place undue weight on their own needs they no longer deserve to be called educators in relation to others for they are failing to engage in the proper spirit. A similar argument can be made for friends.

A third objection to the use of the term ‘friend’ to describe the relationship of educators with learners revolves around how educators deal with individuals and groups they do not like. At one level it does seem odd to describe someone whose company gives you little pleasure as a friend – but we do have to take care on three counts. First, there is the familiar injunction that friendship is also concerned with utility and a shared commitment to the good. Of course these may also not be present in the relationship – in which case the notion of friendship with the individual is a non-starter. Equally, the possibility of being accepted as a worker or educator by this person is somewhat distant. Second, there is a question as to whether the educator is looking in the right place or is ‘seeing through a glass darkly’. We may not be open to the person of the other either through placing interpretations upon their behaviour that are drawn from elsewhere and are not merited by their actions or orientation; or because we have not attended to what is good about them. Last, we need to bear in mind the more general concern to be a friend to learners and to the truth. In this sense, educators offer a kind of friendship to all they come in contact with through their work. They invite them to explore and to join in an endeavour to deepen understanding and to allow wisdom to flourish.

The last, commonly-heard, objection to the idea that educators can be friends with learners is that as many are paid is odd to describe them as friends. This objection is answered quickly. From the preceding discussion it should be clear that friendship can involve pleasure in each others’ company, utility and the common pursuit of the good. The informal and personal relationships involved have some element of choice (although this may be limited by circumstance). Payment can be involved in this. For example, we may employ someone direct as a teacher (e.g. to help us pass a particular exam) and become friends with that person (or vice versa). There can come a point where payment is really a side issue – it is the shared pursuit of the good that matters. It might also be argued that these educators are only friends while they are paid to do a job with a group or individual. When they are no longer paid – they leave the job, or the funding runs out – they move on to other work, leaving these ‘friendships’ behind. This is no different to what happens in many other friendships. As Allan (1996) has pointed out, friendships are deeply situational, and can quickly fade as the situation alters. People might count each other as ‘close friends’ while they are neighbours, but as soon as one moves away some distance that relationship may become far less significant.

From this discussion it can be seen that educators can be friends with learners given an appropriate framework and a full appreciation of of the nature of friendship.


All of this has implications for the sorts of educational environments that educators seek to foster, and the contexts in which they work. Perhaps the key consideration is the frame of reference of the educator and the way in which this is understood by others. Older generations of informal educators within youth work and adult education could often work secure in the knowledge that they were part of a wider social movement, that they experienced some sort of calling to the work, and that it was right to appeal to ideas of virtue, character and service. It was in this spirit that Basil Henriques could talk of being a friend and servant of the young people in his club, or that Josephine Macalister Brew could speak of a burning love of humanity that always meets with a response.

In contrast, the contemporary, ‘professionalized’, discourse of youth work, lifelong learning and community education tends to the bureaucratic and technical. Friends become clients, relationship becomes boundary and so on. The moral element has, to a significant extent, been stripped out and replaced by procedure. The issue here isn’t just that it becomes difficult to use the language of friendship, it is also hard to be an educator. Education, if it is to merit the name, has to encourage people to gain a critical understanding of things, and the virtues that are needed to guide us to individual and common goods (MacIntyre 2002: 2). It is an activity of the heart as well as the mind. There may be learning without a vibrant sense of the moral and ethical, but there isn’t education.

Friendship can be a part of education. It may flow from the encounters between participants, it may be the focus for learning, and it may be part of what is offered by educators. However, to talk seriously of friendship within many of the current contexts within which informal educators have to operate, is to come to up against the impact of professionalization and the other forces that worked to limit our appreciations of the relationship.

Further reading and references

Allan, G. (1996) Kinship and Friendship in Modern Britain, Oxford: Oxford University Press. 143 + x pages. A good introduction to the area. See, also, Graham Allan’s (1989) Friendship: Developing a sociological perspective, Hemel Hempstead: Harvester Wheatsheaf.

Aristotle (1976) The Nicomachen Ethics, London: Penguin. 383 pages. Books Eight and Nine are ‘must reads’. The first explores different ‘kinds’ of friendship and the second the grounds of friendship.

Blum, L. A. (1980) Friendship, Altruism and Morality, New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall. Key elements of Blum’s argument are reproduced in L. A. Blum (1993) ‘Friendship’ in J. G. Haber (ed.) Doing and Being. Selected readings in moral philosophy, New York: Macmillan.

Pahl, R. (2000) On Friendship, Cambridge: Polity. 200 pages. An excellent introduction of to the idea of friendships and of contemporary experience with some useful suggestions about further reading and exploration.


Adams, R. G. and Allan, G. (1998) Placing Friendship in Context, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Barnett, S. A. (1894) ‘University settlements’ in S. A. Barnett and H. O. Barnett Practicable Socialism 2e, London:

Barnett, S. A. (1898) ‘University settlements’ in W. Reason (ed.) University and Social Settlements, London: Methuen.

Bell, S. and Coleman, S. (1999) ‘The anthropology of friendship: enduring themes and future possibilities’ in S. Bell and S. Coleman (eds.) The Anthropology of Friendship, London: Berg.

Bellah, R. N., Madsen, R., Sullivan, W. M., Swidler, A. and Tipton, S. M. (1985; 1996) Habits of the Heart. Individualism and commitment in American life 2e, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Beveridge, W. H. (1948) Voluntary Action. A report on methods of social advance, London: George Allen and Unwin.

Brew, J. Macalister (1943) In The Service of Youth. A practical manual of work among adolescents, London: Faber.

Brew, J. Macalister (1946) Informal Education. Adventures and reflections, London: Faber.

Brew, J. Macalister (1957) Youth and Youth Groups, London: Faber & Faber.

Burkowski, W. M., Newcomb, A. F. and Hartup, W. W. (eds.) (1996) The Company they Keep: Friendship in childhood and adolescence, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cicero, M. T. On Friendship Translated by E. S. Shuckburgh,

Doyle, M. E. (2001) ‘On being an educator’ in L. D. Richardson and M. Wolfe (eds.) Principles and Practices of Informal Education. Learning through life, London: RoutledgeFalmer.

Hauerwas, S. and Pinches, C. (1997) Christians Among the Virtues. Theological conversations with ancient and modern ethics, Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press.

Heller, A. (1998) ‘The beauty of friendship’ in P. Murphy (ed.) (1998) Friendship: A special issue of the South Atlantic Quarterly 97(1), Durham NC.: Duke University Press, pp. 5-22.

Henriques, B. (1933) Club Leadership, London: Oxford University Press.

Hodes, A. (1975) Encounter with Martin Buber, Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Jeffs, T. and Smith, M. K. (1999) Informal Education, Ticknall: Education Now.

Kett, J. F. (1994) The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties. From self-improvement to adult education in America, 1750-1990, Stanford CA.: Stanford University Press.

Lewis, C. S. (1960) The Four Loves, London: Geoffrey Bles (2002 edn. published by HaperCollins).

Lindeman, E. C. (1926) The Meaning of Adult Education, New York: New Republic.

MacIntyre, A. (1985) After Virtue. A study in moral theory, London: Duckworth.

MacIntyre, A. in MacIntyre, A. and Dunne, J. (2002) ‘Alistair MacIntyre on education; in conversation with Joseph Dunne’, Journal of the Philosophy of Education, 36(1): 1-19.

Punshon, J. (1984) Portrait in Grey. A short history of the Quakers, London: Quaker Home Service.

Putnam, R. D. (2000) Bowling Alone. The collapse and revival of American community, New York: Simon and Schuster.

Rose, J. (2001) The Intellectual Life of British Working Classes, New Haven: Yale University Press.

Stern-Gillet, S. (1995) Aristotle’s Philosophy of Friendship, New York: SUNY Press.

Tawney, R. H. (1914) ‘An experiment in democratic education’ Political Quarterly (May). Available in Tawney, R. H. (1966) The Radical Tradition. Twelve essays on politics, education and literature (ed. Rita Hinden), Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.

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encyclopedia article: friendship.

Acknowledgement: Extravaggant geographies by lettera27. Sourced from Flickr and reproducded under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)  licence.

To cite this article: Doyle, M. E. and Smith, M. K. (2002) ‘Friendship and informal education’, The encyclopedia of pedagogy and informal education. [ Retrieved: insert date].

© Michele E. Doyle and Mark K. Smith 2002, 2004