Feminist Theory 23 (1):23-38 (2022)

Abstract
Loneliness is often described as a deadly epidemic sweeping across the population, a silent killer. Loneliness, we are told, is a social disease that must be cured. But what does it mean to think of loneliness as a feminist issue, and what might a specifically feminist theorisation bring to conceptualisations of loneliness? In this paper, I argue that feminism helps us see that loneliness is not just personal but political. I trace how stories of loneliness surface, circulate, shift and compound within the specificity of the present, centring on recent strategies proposed by the UK government in their ‘national mission to end loneliness’. I outline how this policy discourse upholds certain normative attachments as having the promise to alleviate loneliness: coupled love, the family, community. Such framings serve to depoliticise contemporary conditions of loneliness, positioning loneliness as a personal failure, with the cure for loneliness as the responsibility of individuals and communities. Absent in government depictions of the problem of loneliness are the wider mechanisms that condemn people to lonely lives, when infrastructures fail, when people find themselves violently cut off from the world. Finally, I speculate on what might happen if we were to challenge this framing of loneliness as always and only a problem in need of a cure. I seek to uncover some of the political potentials of loneliness, asking what can be learnt through reflecting upon shared experiences of loneliness? For, as feminist politics has shown us, feelings of disaffection and alienation can help us imagine other worlds.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
ISBN(s)
DOI 10.1177/14647001211062739
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,379
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Promise of Happiness.Sara Ahmed - 2010 - Duke University Press.

View all 12 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Philosophical-Literary Understanding the Loneliness of Postmodern Age.O. Chaplins'ka - 2012 - Epistemological studies in Philosophy, Social and Political Sciences 2 (22):154-157.
The Problem of Solitude in the Socio-Philosophical Discourse of the Twentieth Century.Y. Bashmanivs'ka - 2012 - Epistemological studies in Philosophy, Social and Political Sciences 2 (22):12-16.
Loneliness, Love, and the Limits of Language.Ruth Rebecca Tietjen & Rick Anthony Furtak - 2021 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 59 (3):435-459.
Attachment Style, Perceived Social Support and Loneliness Among College Students.Sushma Suri, Siddharth Garg & Geetika Tholia - 2019 - International Journal of Innovative Studies in Sociology and Humanities 4 (5):135-142.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2022-02-23

Total views
6 ( #1,137,556 of 2,519,681 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
6 ( #116,860 of 2,519,681 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes