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A Multidimensional Social Inquiry into the Loneliness Problem: Urbanization, Technological Mediation, and Neoliberal Individualism

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Loneliness is a compelling, complex, and multifaceted social issue of the times, which cannot be reduced to a personal trouble writ large. Loneliness is not one thing. There is a need for a broad and multidimensional social approach to loneliness—even broader than a public health approach—that could take up the problem of loneliness as a complex phenomenon. Ideally, such an approach would consider how we might create conditions for meaningful forms of social connectivity that nourish and sustain people across the social landscape and along the life course, both in the ordinary circumstances of everyday life and in the face of extraordinary circumstances and large-scale collective disturbances, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. As we stress in our review of materials, loneliness is best approached through a culturally sensitive and intersectional approach, one attentive to marginalization and oriented to meaningful participation and inclusion across the diverse social world. It is also important to be attentive to both the built environment and to the environment of ideas, values, and judgments in order to recognize and address loneliness as a social issue that demands social solutions. In this report, we have identified a series of research priorities and policy recommendations, guided by general principles and targeted in specific ways in relevant contexts, that can support a multidimensional approach to understanding and addressing loneliness.

  • By

    Tara Milbrandt & Ondine Park

  • Published

    Aug 23, 2023

  • Subject Area
    • Social Connectedness / Social Isolation
  • Audience
    • Academics
    • Government (Politicians, Policy Makers) and Health Authorities
    • Service Providers (Non-profits, Community Organizations, Local government)
  • Category
    • Research & Reports
    • Research & Evidence


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