Society’s dropouts

Anja Machielse: ‘Loneliness and social isolation hold a mirror up to society'

Philosopher Prof. Dr. Anja Machielse has been studying loneliness and social isolation for more than 25 years. In her farewell speech she tries to broaden our understanding of this and advocates a resilient society.

In the Netherlands, a substantial group of people lives in social isolation. The illustration depicts how these people drop out, while life goes on around them. They become invisible in the social domain.


Photo on the right: Jos Kuklewski

Anja Machielse: “Loneliness is mainly framed in individual terms, while it is also about functioning or not functioning in a social system. As a result, we look for solutions to individual problems and do nothing to improve the circumstances of people who are lonely.”

Her research offers an interesting new look at resilience. Resilience is not just something we acquire as individuals. According to Anja Machielse, we need a resilient society that includes everyone.

I enjoyed taking care of the illustration and design. ❤️



Read more about Anja Machielse’s farewell speech (in Dutch).

Read the Correspondent’s article following the inaugural lecture here (in Dutch).