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Abstract
Whilst loneliness may be receiving greater media and political attention, the tendency to present the issue as a discrete individual problem separable from wider social concerns has led to some frustration amongst the sociologically minded. The purpose of this paper is to provide a sociological account of loneliness which is not as susceptible to individualist interpretations as other works in the genre have been. As such the paper focuses on how the structure of a society, rather than its culture, might lead to loneliness. To this end, the paper makes original use of the works of Georg Simmel (1858–1918). Specifically, Simmel's account of how we come to know other people through synthetic construction is applied to his better‐known theory of intersecting social circles. The author claims that when taken together these two aspects of Simmel's thought suggest that social structure can create a form of social isolation in which people find it very difficult to get to know one another, due to a lack of multiple‐context interactions with the same people during their day‐to‐day behavioural patterns. This clustering of interactions within narrow interlocuter‐contexts is hypothesised to account for a portion of the variability in loneliness across individuals, societies and historical time, and is provisionally named as structural loneliness.
Keywords Atomism  Loneliness  Simmel  Social-circles  Social isolation
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DOI 10.1111/jtsb.12263
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Of Grammatology.Jacques Derrida - 1982 - Philosophy and Rhetoric 15 (1):66-70.
The Fall of Public Man.Richard Sennett - 1978 - Ethics 88 (3):276-279.

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