Seminar – David Vincent on ‘Solitude and Loneliness: the making of a modern panic’

In the first paper of our 2018/19 seminar series, David Vincent - Emeritus Professor at the Open University - examines the mounting panic over loneliness in modern-day society.
ArtsTwo 3.20, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London, E1 4NS Map

In October 2018, the government launched the world’s first loneliness strategy, called ‘A Connected Society’. In the accompanying press release, the Prime Minister’s office described the scale of the problem: ‘up to a fifth of all UK adults feel lonely most or all of the time’. However, this was an inflation of the data presented in the strategy itself, which put the figure somewhere between 5% and 18%.

The reluctance to abandon the higher, more alarming percentage reflects the broader discourse about the issue of loneliness and the mounting panic that gave rise to the government’s new strategy. This talk explores the history of this panic and suggests how we might better consider the concept and experience of loneliness in the UK since the early 20th century.

No registration required for this seminar – all are welcome.