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Research Paper ESRC Research Methods Programme Working Papers 27

The social structuring of closest friendships: a creative assembly?


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In recent years, the sociological study of friendship has expanded considerably, through the work of Allan, Pahl and Spencer who see it as central to contemporary social solidarities. Few studies, however, have investigated large scale structuring of contemporary friendships using quantitative methods. We use the British Household Panel Survey, a representative sample of UK population, to examine a typology or set of patterns of contemporary friendships amongst respondents’ three best friends. We find evidence for considerable variation in friendship choice, and also that friendship choice continues to be socially structured. What emerges is a complex and simultaneously stratified pattern of friendships in contemporary British society which we see as a ‘creative assembly’ process. In estimating these patterns and effects, we methodologically break new ground by using local dependence latent class model coupled with multivariate regression.





working paper; Offcoll - previously restricted access but emailed Prof Savage 13/11/14 and he is happy for people to access

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