Political Ecology of Isolation: Seeking Shelter from Slow Violence

Authors: Paul Jackson*, University of Delaware, Nari Kim, University of Delaware
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Cultural and Political Ecology, Disabilities
Keywords: isolation, political ecology of health, slow violence, housing, disability
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Cabinet Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Shelter-in-place, an emergency response to environmental and hazards, is emerging as the de facto policy response to the slow violence of climate change, pollution, and growing health and income disparities. Citizens merely waiting out the crisis becomes the norm due to political inaction to deal with the contaminations throughout urban life. This paper applies the frameworks of the political ecology of health and embodied urban political ecology to the 'epidemics' of loneliness and isolation in the Global North. What can environmental geographers learn from the experiences of people living with chronic health conditions (chronic pain, mental health, dementia in the elderly, etc.) that isolate individuals? What are the embodied environmental harms and toxic exposures (both physical and cultural) that arise from being isolated in indoor spaces? We return to Klinenberg's method of the "social autopsy of disaster" as a way to analyze heatwaves, storms, and airpocalypses. We seek counter knowledges/practices of care and social reproduction that can be shared across a wide range of geographic sites to find common cause between the global north and the global south creating solidarities throughout the "other" global health.

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