The COVID-19 pandemic has played out against a backdrop of an already acknowledged pandemic of loneliness. This loneliness pandemic is often at least partly blamed on processes of industrial capitalism leading to urbanization and a failed promise of cosmopolitanism—a cosmopolitanism that has not delivered for great swaths of people the kind of conviviality or support that one might hope Diogenes’s vision would naturally lead to. Instead, for many, certain aspects of industrial capitalism have created enclaves, ghettos, closed shops, et cetera, putting up barriers as much as enabling flows.

This article takes as its starting point the assertion that the processes of industrial capitalism have not been conducive for conviviality. Conviviality in this context refers not to contemporary Western ideas of friendship—for example, finding one’s soulmates or being seamlessly pulled toward what Michel Maffesoli calls one’s “consumer tribe”—but to a much earlier idea of friendship, seen, for example, in Stoic thought, as embedded in mutual reliance and civic action. The article suggests that conviviality contributes toward resilience, because what Chris Rumford calls the disconcerting globalized “stranger in our midst” can plausibly become a friend, enabling collective civic action and communality, which are key to our future survival. In acknowledging this, however, the article suggests that we need to think of the globe as an entirety, with a radically changed understanding of our own place in the universe.

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