Slow Solidarities

Monday, 16 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Simon ANDERSON, Independent research consultant, United Kingdom
Julie BROWNLIE, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Lynn JAMIESON, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
There have been calls to rethink our understandings of what violence and power look like, including Nixon’s idea of slow violence (2011). In this paper we argue that we need also to broaden our conceptualisations of solidarity and resistance. Drawing on a large, qualitative study in three diverse neighbouroods in Glasgow, Scotland, this paper introduces the concept of ‘slow solidarities’ to call attention to some of the incremental and accretive practices of everyday life - small, unobligated practices of care and support that help to create ‘kin’ where no blood tie exists and to counter narratives and practices of ‘othering’ that might otherwise hold sway. It explores how such solidaristic practices and relationships come to happen (or not) and the way that these might complement more collective forms of resistance to ‘slow violence’, such as those associated with social movements. And it embeds this analysis in an avowedly relational sociology, recognising that discourses associated with our imaginary relationships to strangers - whether antagonistic or solidaristic in character - are not typically independent of everyday embodied interpersonal relationships and are often bound up in the relational practices of family or friendship groups or both. We suggest that focusing on the everyday, the emotional and the relational, conceptually and empirically, add to our understanding of a ‘politics of perception’ (Barnwell, 2017) which can both reveal and disguise social inequalities.

Nixon, R. (2011) Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press

Barnwell, A.(2017) Durkheim as Affect Theorist Journal of Classical Sociology: 1-15