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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Fraternization (from Latin frater, brother) is "turning people into brothers"—conducting social relations with people who are actually unrelated and/or of a different class (especially those with whom one works) as though they were siblings, family members, personal friends or lovers.

In many institutional contexts (such as militaries, diplomatic corps, parliaments, prisons, law enforcement or police, schools, sports teams, and corporations) this kind of relation transgresses legal, moral or professional norms forbidding certain categories of social contact across socially or legally defined classes. The term often therefore tends to connote impropriety, unprofessionalism or unethical behavior.

For example, "fraternization with the enemy" refers to associations with members of enemy groups and suggests a serious conflict of strong, deep, and close romantic interest and attraction, if not the possibility of treason; while "fraternization with civilians" typically suggests transgression of norms forbidding non-civilians and civilians to form close nonprofessional relationships (e.g., romantically), and "fraternization of officers with enlisted personnel" or "seniors with their juniors" (the usual referent of 'fraternization' in a military context) describes associations which are implied to be irregular, unprofessional, improper or imprudent in ways that negatively affect the members and goals of the organization.

A vast number of institutions worldwide implement policies forbidding forms of fraternization for many specific reasons. Fraternization may be forbidden to maintain image and morale, to protect and ensure fair and uniform treatment of subordinates, to maintain organizational integrity and the ability to achieve operational goals, and to prevent unauthorized transfers of information. Relations and activities forbidden under these anti-fraternization policies range from romantic and sexual liaisons, through gambling and ongoing business relationships, through insubordination, to excessive familiarity and disrespect of rank.

Views on fraternization are mixed and may depend on the relations and classes under discussion. Organizations may relax, change, or reinforce restrictions to reflect changes in the prevailing organizational view or doctrine regarding fraternization.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Fraternization" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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