Patterns of Uneven Destruction
Keywords:differential harm, climate change, pandemics, power, system
This essay opposes the idea that contemporary critical events like pandemics, global warming, environmental deterioration, et cetera, are to be considered as affecting humanity in a uniform way. Instead of seeing these phenomena like abstract universal threats, I propose to look at them through the lens of my concept of differential harm. By drawing on interdisciplinary sources, this concept aims at covering a series of processes that are best described in differential, rather than absolute, terms. By the same token, differential harm is a matter of scale. Moreover, this essay also suggests that macroscopic critical processes are better understood as instances of harm, rather than violence. Instead of framing macroscopic disruptive phenomena as simple calamities or crises, my approach also aims at acknowledging their social, political, and psychological dimensions.