Informations and abstract
Keywords: friendship, community, single youth, social network analysis, qualitative study
The paper presents the results of a pilot research on friendship networks of single people. The research has been undertaken using social network analysis tools (egonetworks) and qualitative interviews, on a non-representative sample of 23 heterosexual singles of Milan, aged between 25 and 35, 12 male and 11 female. Framed within the theory of community, we formulated some questions that are explored and confirmed through the analysis: the role of friendship in single youths' everyday life, which seems to substitute the traditional family as a source of emotional, social, material and economical support and the possibility that friendship is not always intended as a source of support, and people can name friends even if they do not provide any kind of support. Four different kind of friendship networks have been found: the small groups, the company, the core/periphery structure, and the contextualised components. In the discussion section, empirical findings are analysed focusing on different strategies of friendship, and special attention is given to the gender issue.