Jessie Kelly: “A lonely generation? Understanding loneliness and togetherness in the emotional geographies of millennials”

In Students by jvnf65


Having completed my undergraduate degree in Human Geography at the University of Glasgow and a Human Geography Research MA at Newcastle University, I am due to start my +3 studentship at Newcastle University in October 2017. My main interests in Human Geography lie in social and emotional geographies, especially in relation to young people or the ‘millennial generation’. This interest was developed while conducting my MA dissertation which focused on the emotional geographies and transitions of graduates post-university. I plan to expand on these interests during my PhD.

My PhD project intends to be an explorative study which examines the paradox of loneliness in an increasingly ‘wired up’ generation. It will consider the entanglement of ‘real world’ and ‘virtual’ relationships and will critically engage with how ‘meaningful’ relationships are developed and maintained alongside the increased use of internet and social media. I will draw on the emotional geographies of millennials and use a relational theoretical framework, placing the role of relationships at the centre of its concerns. Based in County Durham, this study will explore the particular social geographies of the area in order to understand the melding of ‘real’ and ‘virtual’ relationships and experiences. The project will use qualitative methods in the form of focus groups and individual life story interviews, aiming to uncover the emotional accounts and experiences of the participants. Loneliness is often understood as an issue only for older generations and it is hoped that this research will help to understand rising loneliness in younger people.