ASU anthropologist looks at friendship differences around the world
Friends may make life more fulfilling, but they are not considered imperative to our species’ survival. So, why and how did friendship evolve to become such an important part of humanity?
Arizona State University anthropologist Daniel J. Hruschka has spent years studying friendship as a state and a process and looking at its components across cultures.
“Usually, we draw relationships as dots for people with lines connecting them,” he said. “I realized maybe that chart in Bangladesh might not be the same in Tanzania or in the U.S.”
Among Hruschka’s findings is that friendship takes on different tones and qualities in different parts of the world. For some cultures, friendship is more about emotional support and sharing dreams, life details and gossip, while in others it may be more of a business arrangement. In some regions, it is not unusual for parents to choose their offspring’s friends and ritualistically cement the arrangement to last a lifetime.
Set to lecture at the New Mexico School for the Deaf’s James A. Little Theater on Wednesday, Hruschka’s unique research was the topic of a June 24, 2012, article in the Santa Fe New Mexican.
His work recently resulted in a book, “Friendship: Development, Ecology and Evolution of a Relationship,” as well as an exhibit, “Choosing the Good” at the ASU Museum of Anthropology.
A former Omidyar Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute, Hruschka is now an associate professor in the ASU School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.