Slow Violence

I was assigned a reading for my Contemporary Theoretical Approaches English course titled “Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor” by Rob Nixon. The main concept Nixon addresses in this text is the idea of slow violence, and what exactly slow violence is.

Slow violence may be defined as an act of brutality that occurs over an extended duration of time as opposed to aggressive or explosive violence, as Nixon makes reference to, which is immensely direct and blatant in its existence. An example of slow violence would be global warming, because it is an occurrence of violence that gains progression as time passes and become more severe in doing so. An example of aggressive violence would be a bombing or a terrorist attack, because it is explosive and demands utmost attention.

The reasoning behind my professor assigning this reading to the class lies in the fact that she was attempting to enhance our recognition of the prevalence of slow violence throughout contemporary society. I believe it is deeply alarming that the media ensures any and all news-based focus is placed upon aggressive violence, and such emphasis of aggressive violence therefore obscures our ability to recognize the occurrence of slow violence taking place within the world. I furthermore find it bothersome that society as a whole is obsessed with and consumed by aggressive violence and that such obsession is reasoning as to why slow violence fails to receive adequate recognition in the world. Although I am generalizing human beings in my opinion of why slow violence has yet to be resolved or acknowledged, I would argue that because humans have become so desensitized to aggressive violence it is nearly impossible for them to dedicate any attention to occurrences of slow violence.

This is an alarming realization, though it is probable that is an accurate one.

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