Friendship and happiness from a sociological perspective
Sociological approaches to friendship and happiness focus on how broader social and cultural conditions influence friendship and happiness. Long-standing debates about the 'good life' on which sociological theory draws, include some attention to friendship as an important intimate relationship in promoting well-being. Sociologists note that friends confer social and emotional capital that has the potential to enhance happiness, offering opportunities to network, as well as emotional support, information, trust, financial support, and influence. Sociological perspectives examine the changing historical definitions of happiness and friendship and critically evaluate whether friendship and happiness contribute to individual subjective well-being or are used in social control. Sociological attention to friendship and happiness also debates their contribution to social cohesion versus the ways in which they may exacerbate social inequalities. What a sociological contribution to happiness and friendship can offer is further illustrated using two examples of friendship and happiness in different social spheres; one taken from a study of friendships at work and the other from research into how friendships are navigated through online social media like Facebook
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