Society for the Social Study of Mobile Communications

The Society for the Social Study of Mobile Communication (SSSMC) is intended to facilitate the international advancement of cross-disciplinary mobile communication studies. It is intended to serve as a resource and to support a network of scholarly research as to the social consequences of mobile communication.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

CFP: ‘Loneliness in the age of Mobile & Social Media’

International conference
‘Loneliness in the age of Mobile & Social Media’

Friday 23rd February 2018
University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom 


Dr. Shakuntala Banaji, London School of Economics 
Dr. Jennifer Lau, King’s College London 

With the Campaign to End Loneliness launched in 2011, the BBC documentary The Age of Loneliness (2016) and then the launch of Jo Cox’s Commission on Loneliness in January 2017, loneliness makes the headlines and dealing with it is generating intense debates in the UK. Loneliness is a prevalent serious problem in our society and is associated with various health problems (Cacioppo et al. 2002; Nummela, Seppanen, Uutela, 2010; Hawkley and Cacioppo, 2010; Luo, Hawkley, Waite, Cacioppo, 2012). In recent years, loneliness has been associated with internet addiction (Durak-Batugün and Hasta, 2010; Esen and Siyez, 2011), mobile phone use (Oztunc, 2013), and mobile phone addiction (Jin and Park, 2012; Reid and Reid, 2007; Takao, Takahashi and Kitamura, 2009; Wei and Lo, 2006; Tan, Pamuk and Donder, 2013). 

Research conducted so far (Perlman, Gerson and Spinner, 1978; Salmela-Aro and Eronen, 1997; Cacioppo et al., 2002; Dykstra, 2009; Dykstra, van Tilburg, & de Jong Gierveld, 2005; De Jong-Gierveld and van Tilburg, 2010; van den Berg, Kemperman, de Kleijn and Borgers, 2015) shows that when discussing loneliness, the assumption is that we are talking about elderly people, usually ignoring young adults who also suffer from loneliness. According to Pinquart and Sorensen (2003), the prevalence and intensity of loneliness are in fact greater in young adults than in any other age group. Moreover, Victor and Yang (2012) argue that the extent of loneliness is U-shaped when mapped graphically against age, indicating that younger and older people have the highest risk of experiencing loneliness. Even so, to date, not much is known about loneliness in young adults. With the exception of only a few studies (Cacioppo, Hawkley, et al., 2006; Nicolaisen and Thorsen, 2014; Blachnio, Perpepiorka, Boruch and Balakier, 2015; Luhmann, Bohn, Holtmann, Koch and Eid, 2016), research in loneliness constantly ignores this demographic and fails to address loneliness that affects young people.

This conference aims to fill this gap in scholarship by also examining the causes and stories of loneliness among young people. As loneliness is something people are likely to experience at any age, this conference invites scholars to think about this widespread prevalent problem from innovative new perspectives. The conference is devoted to an examination of the current situation across the world from a variety of perspectives, and aims to identify and bridge the gaps in academic research on loneliness, creating new research pathways. 

*** We welcome papers from established scholars and early career researchers and PhD students. The conference will have a separate section for early career researchers, PhD and master students. 

We invite papers that engage with themes including (but not limited to): 

  • Loneliness and everyday life: stories of loneliness/ episodes of loneliness, media representations of loneliness; online and offline loneliness; political loneliness; linguistic and cultural loneliness; loneliness in later life; loneliness in young people; loneliness in children/adolescents; loneliness in men vs. loneliness in women; loneliness and violence; how can transitions increase the risk of loneliness (for examples: transition to university life, pre-retirement etc.); what works in tackling loneliness?; Impact on families, neighbours, friendship, local community.
  • Research methods: qualitative vs. quantitative; loneliness scales; new methods of measuring loneliness. 
  • Health:  Loneliness, metal health and well-being; social isolation, depression, anxiety; loneliness and physical health; loneliness and terminal illness; loneliness and disability/students with special needs; loneliness and cognitive impairment, sight or hearing loss; preventing and alleviating loneliness; what support is in place/what resources are needed; social support, interventions and government policy.  
  • New technologies: loneliness and social media; loneliness and the use of mobile phones; digital divide; big data and loneliness; what technology/technology-based services can be adopted to identify and help (mhealth, telecare, telehealth)?; creative digital interventions. 

*** Please send abstracts of no more than 500 words, along with your name, e-mail address, academic affiliation, and a short bio to: 

Abstract submission deadline: December 18th, 2017
Acknowledgment of acceptance: January 10th, 2018
Registration deadline: January 20th, 2018
Conference dates: February 23rd, 2018
Deadline to send the final full papers for publication: May 28th, 2018

The conference is organized by Dr. Bianca Fox and is funded through ERAS (Early Researcher Award Scheme), School of Media and the Centre for Film, Media, Discourse and Culture, University of Wolverhampton. 

No conference fee. Registration is a must. Participants will have to cover travel and accommodation. 

*** The conference’s programme includes a ‘How to publish’ workshop delivered by Routledge, the only publisher present at the conference. 

***After the conference, a selected number of papers presented at this conference will be published as a special issue of a journal or as an edited volume. 

We are looking forward to seeing you in Wolverhampton. For more information, please contact