Toggle Main Menu Toggle Search

Open Access padlockePrints

Slow Violence and the Representational Politics of Song

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Rachel Pain



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


In Nixon’s analysis of slow violence (2011: 7) ‘attritional catastrophes...are marked above all by displacements’. Our research witnessed the sudden auction of social (public) housing in 2015-16 in a former coalmining community in North East England, after decades of managed decline by a voluntary sector Housing Association now operating by market principles. Earlier state violence prior to and during the 1980s coalmine closures not only did long term social damage, but anticipated the form and manner of subsequent assaults through welfare reform and increasingly inequitable national housing policies. Our enquiry examines the use of song to explore and represent this context of growing housing insecurity, a deteriorating physical environment and fragmenting community, and the many everyday ways in which residents are contesting these changes. Reflecting on our participatory action research project, we discuss the practice and political possibilities of song in representing place, making slow violence visible and supporting resistance. The paper is authored by two North East songwriter/performers who gathered stories in the village and offered them back, and the social geographer leading the wider project. It includes song lyrics and links to the collection of 10 Horden songs and videos, ‘Our Streets Are Numbered’.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Pain R, Heslop B, Heslop G

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies

Year: 2019

Volume: 18

Issue: 5

Pages: 1100-1111

Online publication date: 03/10/2019

Acceptance date: 09/09/2019

Date deposited: 16/10/2019

ISSN (electronic): 1492-9732

Publisher: ACME Geography Editorial Collective



Funder referenceFunder name