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Male bonding is a term that is used in ethology, social science, and in general usage to describe patterns of friendship and/or cooperation in men (or in the case of ethology: males of various species). The exact meaning of the term differs across contexts.
In ethology, a species is said to have male bonding if the males regularly form coalitions in which they mutually support each other, especially if such coalitions are used to attack other groups or individuals. Male bonding is not very common in animals, but it is found in both chimpanzees (e.g. raiding behaviour) and humans (e.g. war). Although females occasionally participate in such groups that kill others, they are normally a minority in a coalition that is composed mostly of males.
In the context of human relationships, male bonding is used to (sometimes jokingly or informally) describe friendship between men, or the way in which men befriend each other. The expression is sometimes used synonymously with the word cameraderie. Friendships among men are often based on shared activities, instead of emotional sharing, which is more typical of women's friendships. Stereotypical common activities of male friends include watching sports on television, drinking beer, or going for a cigarette. First widely-noticed use of the term was in MEN IN GROUPS (1969;2004) by anthropologist Lionel Tiger.
- Brehm, S. S., Miller, R. S., Perlman, D. & Campbell, S. M. (1992). Intimate relationships. Third edition, chapter 7: paragraph about "gender differences in same-sex friendships", p. 212-213.
- Fanning, Patrick & McKay, Matthew. (1993). Being a friend: Making and keeping male friends. In "Being a man: A guide to the new masculinity" (pp. 108-125). Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications, Inc.
- Garfinkel, Perry. (1992). "In a man's world: Father, son, brother, friend, and other roles men play." Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press.
- Miller, Stuart. (1986). "Men & friendship." Bath, England: Gateway Books.
- Nardi, Peter. (1992). "Men's friendships" (Research on men and masculinities series). Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications.
- Pasick, Robert S. (1990). Friendship between men. In Meth, Richard L., Pasick, Robert S., et al, "Men in therapy: The challenge of change" (pp. 108-127). New York: The Guilford Press.
- Pasick, Robert S. (1992). Staying awake: The importance of friendship. In "Awakening from the deep sleep: A powerful guide for courageous men" (pp. 222-244). San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco (A division of HarperCollins, Publishers).
- Wrangham, R. & Peterson, D. (1996). Demonic males: Apes and the origins of human violence. London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Lionel Tiger, Men in Groups, Random House 1969; Transaction, 2004
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