Friendship among nations

History of a concept

By Evgeny Roshchin

Friendship among nations


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-1644-4
  • Pages: 264
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: November 2017
  • BIC Category: International relations, HISTORY / Civilization, POLITICAL SCIENCE / General, HISTORY / Europe / General, Society & social sciences / Diplomacy, Society & social sciences / International relations, HISTORY / Ancient / General, SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General, PSYCHOLOGY / Interpersonal Relations, POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Diplomacy, History: Earliest Times To Present Day, Humanities / Social & cultural history, Ancient History: To C 500 CE, Humanities / European history, Society & social sciences / Politics & government, Society & social sciences / Sociology & anthropology, Sociology: Family & Relationships, Society & social sciences / Geopolitics, International Relations


This is the first book-length study of the role that friendship plays in diplomacy and international politics. Through an examination of a vast amount of sources ranging from diplomatic letters and bilateral treaties, to poems and philosophical treatises, it analyses how friendship has been talked about and practised in pre-modern political orders and modern systems of international relations.

The study highlights how instrumental friendship was for describing and legitimising a range of political and legal engagements with foreign countries and nations. It emphasises contractual and political aspects in diplomatic friendship based on the idea of utility. It is these functions of the concept that help the world stick together when collective institutions are either embryonic or no more.


'In this engaging and detailed book, Evgeny Roshchin explores the conceptual history and genealogy of friendship in diplomacy and international relations. It is a timely, insightful and interesting addition to the literature. . Roshchin challenges inherent suspicions and limitations within International Relations towards the concept.'
International Affairs

'As a leading friendship scholar, Evgeny Roshchin's latest work has been long awaited. Roshchin takes a unique position in the current debates in friendship studies, his conceptual approach being in stark contrast to the more dominant structural, individual, and state-centred approaches.'
Contemporary Political Theory

'This investigation is more thorough and far more original than anything else ever written about friendship in diplomacy or, for that matter, in public life.'
Nick Onuf, Professor Emeritus of International Relations at Florida International University

'Modern scholars of international relations are likely to understand friendship in ethical terms, thereby often downplaying its relevance to international politics. This book reconstructs the fascinating history of a neglected concept, and should be read by anyone interested in the history of international thought.'
Jens Bartelson, Professor of Political Science at Lund University

'A richly detailed, closely argued history of the concept from antiquity to the emergence of the modern era. Roshchin makes a convincing case that a genealogy of this alternative conception of friendship is germane to contemporary debates among International Relations scholars and intellectual historians alike.'
Martin J. Burke, The City University of New York and Executive Co-editor of The Journal of the History of Ideas

'A must-read for anyone interested in the study of friendship in politics and international relations.'
AMITY: The Journal of Friendship Studies

Friendship among Nations makes an original contribution to the study of a neglected and crucial concept in the formation and consolidation of international society from ancient to modern times, shedding new light onto a central question for the study of political languages: why is it that certain notions have become hegemonic and have displaced others?'
Contributions to the History of Concepts


1 The ambivalence of ancient friendship
2 Early modern friendship - politics and law
3 The ethics of friendship in early European diplomacy
4 Turning friendship into a moral prescription: conceptual change in modernity
5 The unknown friendship of modern international orders


Evgeny Roshchin is Dean at the Department of Comparative Political Studies, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), St Petersburg

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