Resisting Slow violence: Writing, Activism and Environmentalism

Marino, Alessandra (2017). Resisting Slow violence: Writing, Activism and Environmentalism. In: Srivastava, N. and Ciocca, R. eds. Indian Literature and the World. London: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 177–197.



This essay concentrates on the relation between literary writing and social activism by shedding light on works of literature (spanning the novel, the short story, the folk tale, and the long essay) that portray political and social mobilizations of India’s vibrant civil society. Referring to the importance of socialist writers for contemporary forms of literary activism, this essay explores the struggles of peasants, dispossessed villagers, and tribal subjects in Arundhati Roy and Mahasweta Devi’s fiction and proposes to historicize their writing in relation to the earlier work of the All-India Progressive Writers’ Association. Although they are often categorized as ‘environmentalist writers’, Roy and Devi question the meaning of environmentalism as a universal category and reframe it as grass-roots resistance against the ‘slow violence’ (Nixon) of neo-liberal capitalism.

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