Media and Communication Ph.D. Dissertations

“I’ll be There for You” if You are Just Like Me: An Analysis of Hegemonic Social Structures in “Friends”

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Katherine Bradshaw (Advisor)


The purpose of this dissertation is to analyze the dominant ideologies and hegemonic social constructs the television series “Friends” communicates in regard to friendship practices, gender roles, racial representations, and social class in order to suggest relationships between the series and social patterns in the broader culture. This dissertation describes the importance of studying television content and its relationship to media culture and social influence. The analysis included a quantitative content analysis of friendship maintenance, and a qualitative textual analysis of alternative families, gender, race, and class representations. The analysis found the characters displayed actions of selectivity, only accepting a small group of friends in their social circle based on friendship, gender, race, and social class distinctions as the six characters formed a culture that no one else was allowed to enter.