Loneliness, conviviality and resilience: Ontological dislocations in the Anthropocene

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


The COVID pandemic has played out against a backdrop of an already-acknowledged pandemic of loneliness. This loneliness pandemic is often at least partly blamed on processes of industrial capitalism leading to urbanisation and a failed promise of cosmopolitanism – a cosmopolitanism that has not delivered for great swathes of people the kind of conviviality or support that one might hope Diogenes’s vision would naturally lead to. Instead, for many, certain aspects of industrial capitalism have created enclaves, ghettos, closed shops, etc., putting up barriers as much as enabling flows.
This article takes as its starting point the assertion that the processes of industrial capitalism have not been conducive for conviviality. Conviviality in this context refers not to contemporary Western ideas of friendship, e.g. finding one’s soulmates or seamlessly pulled towards one’s ‘consumer tribe’ (Mafffesoli 1995), but to a much earlier idea of friendship, seen for example in Stoic thought, as embedded in mutual reliance and civic action. The article suggests that conviviality contributes towards resilience, because the disconcerting globalized ‘stranger in our midst’ (Rumford 2013) can plausibly become a friend, enabling collective civic action and communality which is key to our future survival. In acknowledging this however, the article suggests we need to think of the globe as an entirety, with a radically changed understanding of our own place in the universe.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalGlobal Perspectives
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2024


  • Conviviality
  • Resilience
  • Friendship
  • Anthropocene
  • Loneliness


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