The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

The right to be weary?: Endurance and exhaustion in austere times

The right to be weary?: Endurance and exhaustion in austere times
The right to be weary?: Endurance and exhaustion in austere times
This paper contributes to an emerging body of work that is trying to trace and make sense of the everyday affects of austerity by examining some of the ways in which neoliberal welfare retrenchment is lived, experienced & resisted. In this paper we draw upon interview data exploring the impact of welfare reform on the lives of young people in housing need, showing how the day-to-day existence of coping with welfare reform can lead to a state of fatigue, a gradual slow wearing out that comes with having to endure everyday hardship. The focus is on forms of suffering and violence that are felt as a kind of steady ongoing form of endurance, rather than as a sudden eruption. We turn our attention to affective moments that are neither passionate nor intense, but instead listless and still, generating feelings of inertia, flatness, impasse. We propose that weariness is an integral part of understanding the everyday affects of austerity. Yet despite the seeming centrality of weariness to issues such as precarity, poverty and austerity, there has yet to be a sustained discussion into weariness itself. A common conceptualization of weariness is that it is the antithesis of political action, as individuals are slowly worn down until they no longer have the strength or capacity to resist. However, in this paper we offer a more reparative reading of weariness, one that does not narrowly conceptualise weariness as simply a closing down. Instead we seek to question whether weariness should necessarily always be equated with inaction. The paper concludes with some reflections on what we term ‘the right to be weary’, examining how weariness might be understood as a potential retreat from the relentless drive to move forwards, a form of passive dissent.
affect, austerity, precarity, violence, resistance
0020-2754
1-27
Wilkinson, Eleanor
b4e83f65-1c06-4c86-b70c-4cd307d2738a
Ortega Alcazar, Iliana
58969cc6-4e10-4b25-9cc9-673725fef808
Wilkinson, Eleanor
b4e83f65-1c06-4c86-b70c-4cd307d2738a
Ortega Alcazar, Iliana
58969cc6-4e10-4b25-9cc9-673725fef808

Wilkinson, Eleanor and Ortega Alcazar, Iliana (2018) The right to be weary?: Endurance and exhaustion in austere times. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 1-27. (doi:10.1111/tran.12266).

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper contributes to an emerging body of work that is trying to trace and make sense of the everyday affects of austerity by examining some of the ways in which neoliberal welfare retrenchment is lived, experienced & resisted. In this paper we draw upon interview data exploring the impact of welfare reform on the lives of young people in housing need, showing how the day-to-day existence of coping with welfare reform can lead to a state of fatigue, a gradual slow wearing out that comes with having to endure everyday hardship. The focus is on forms of suffering and violence that are felt as a kind of steady ongoing form of endurance, rather than as a sudden eruption. We turn our attention to affective moments that are neither passionate nor intense, but instead listless and still, generating feelings of inertia, flatness, impasse. We propose that weariness is an integral part of understanding the everyday affects of austerity. Yet despite the seeming centrality of weariness to issues such as precarity, poverty and austerity, there has yet to be a sustained discussion into weariness itself. A common conceptualization of weariness is that it is the antithesis of political action, as individuals are slowly worn down until they no longer have the strength or capacity to resist. However, in this paper we offer a more reparative reading of weariness, one that does not narrowly conceptualise weariness as simply a closing down. Instead we seek to question whether weariness should necessarily always be equated with inaction. The paper concludes with some reflections on what we term ‘the right to be weary’, examining how weariness might be understood as a potential retreat from the relentless drive to move forwards, a form of passive dissent.

Text
The right to be weary final version - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 10 June 2020.
Request a copy

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 11 June 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 12 August 2018
Keywords: affect, austerity, precarity, violence, resistance

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 422189
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/422189
ISSN: 0020-2754
PURE UUID: a42023ed-e2ab-40a7-9113-0dfaca73056e

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 18 Jul 2018 16:30
Last modified: 09 Dec 2019 18:04

Export record

Altmetrics

Contributors

Author: Iliana Ortega Alcazar

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×