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Loneliness and the Desire for Recognition

HAVENS, HOLLY,BETH (2019) Loneliness and the Desire for Recognition. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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My thesis offers phenomenological reflections on the nature of loneliness. I argue that loneliness is a more complex phenomenon than we have heretofore realized. Through engagement with various phenomenologists, as well as looking at case studies of lonely persons, we can reach a better understanding of loneliness. Previous research has suggested what loneliness is, but not what is missing in the experience of loneliness. To further complicate matters, feelings of loneliness can occur in a variety of different contexts; it is not just when one is lacking friendships or love relationships that one may feel lonely, for instance, but one may also feel lonely whilst with friends and loved ones. My thesis seeks to rectify these gaps in the literature. I will argue that what is missing in loneliness is a felt recognition. Through looking at various case studies, I will develop a three-tiered model of recognition.
In chapter 1, I review theories of loneliness that have been proposed thus far. I demonstrate the ways in which I believe they fall short in understanding loneliness. I differentiate between loneliness and solitude and define loneliness as a feeling rather than an emotion or mood. Chapter 2 is the first case study. There, I explore feelings of loneliness in relation to solitary confinement. Through looking at first-person accounts of persons in solitary confinement, and the work of Sartre, Honneth, Margalit, and Guenther, I form the first level of recognition. In chapter 3, I examine feelings of loneliness persons experience within and outside friendships and love relationships. I draw off the work of Cocking & Kennett, Scheler and Von Hildebrand, as well as some empirical studies and first-person accounts to develop the second and third levels of recognition. In chapter 4, I look at the way loneliness can occur in some experiences of auditory verbal hallucinations. I argue that in a subset of voice hearers, auditory verbal hallucinations act as a substitute for so-called ‘real life’ relationships. In chapter 5, I differentiate between the experiences of loneliness and depression. I look at the work of Ratcliffe, Husserl, and some first-person accounts in order to do so. In chapter 6, I discuss the relationship between trust, loneliness and recognition. I do so by looking at Løgstrup and Baier's, amongst others, ideas on trust. I conclude by suggesting future possible directions loneliness research may take.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Loneliness, Recognition, Trust, Phenomenology, Holly Havens
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Philosophy, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:12 Dec 2019 10:09

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