n South African Journal of Higher Education - Leadership and friendship : on the possibility of taking risks : editorial

Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Literature about the significance of cultivating democratic relationships in universities and schools abounds. However, very little has been said about the importance of friendship in engendering democratic relations. In this essay I argue for a complementary view of friendship based on mutuality and love - with reference to the seminal ideas of Nancy Sherman and Jacques Derrida. Our view is that human relations ought to be used as pedagogical spaces to nurture forms of friendship which not only encourage mutuality but also love in order to make possible the taking of risks on the part of leaders and their colleagues. And, if leaders and their colleagues act with mutuality and love they would be more favourably positioned in their society to take risks and to sustain democratic relationships.

In this essay we shall show how both Nancy Sherman's (1997) and Jacques Derrida's (1997) ideas of friendship can be used to nurture human relations which involve taking risks. Our argument in defence of taking risks through friendships is hopefully a move away from fostering democratic interactions among leaders and colleagues, which could potentially ignore forms of action which involve challenging, undermining and disagreeing with one's friends.

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