Violent times: the temporal flows of violence in the lives of people with disability

Ms Raffaella Cresciani1

1University Of Melbourne, Parkville, Australia

Posthuman scholarship on temporality highlights that where time is often framed as singular, linear and unidirectional, it can more productively be conceptualised as multiple, multidirectional and expansive. Recent scholarship has linked issues of temporality with the study of violence, highlighting that violence can be slow, fast, curated and arranged by law, and unfolding in contexts and populations far from its temporal and spatial points of origin. In this paper I engage with scholarship on temporality, violence and disability to put forward the notion of violence as both reverberating and leaky. That violence reverberates indicates that it is not unidirectional but moves backwards and forwards in time, bouncing around and off inanimate and animate bodies, bringing multiple institutions, individual actors, buildings and surfaces within its remit. That violence is leaky troubles traditional humanist understandings of violence as a discrete event, perpetrated by individuals, bounded by time. Violence instead seeps out of and over the time frames placed on it, and flows beyond the specific violent ‘event’ to merge with other instances of harm, past and future. The concepts of violence as leaky and reverberating help account for the ways in which people with disability experience harm, and work to trouble binaristic understandings of violence against people with disability as necessary, lawful and therefore ‘good’, and criminal and consequently ‘bad’.


Raffaella is a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne researching violence against people with disability. Her thesis focuses on the interconnections between a humanist imaginary of the person, and violent acts that can be perpetrated on bodies deemed incompatible with this vision of selfhood. Her work also aims to expand what is considered ‘violence’ to better account for the legal, everyday, seemingly ‘mundane’ forms of harm perpetrated against people with disability. She has an interest in violence, disability, gender and new materialism.


Dec 10 2021