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Resistance in the Deceleration Lane

Velocentrism, Slow Culture and Everyday Practice

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Marzena Kubisz

Motivated by a desire to reflect critically on the ways in which speeds, both high and low, and their representations affect the construction, deconstruction and reconstruction of meanings around particular cultural texts, images and practices, Resistance in the Deceleration Lane uses the velocentric perspective to examine the phenomenon of «slow living» and its rhetoric. The book analyzes cultural practices which are inspired by the conviction that the increased speed of everyday life cannot be accepted unquestioningly. It portrays slowness as a strategy of contestation and resistance on one hand, and on the other it highlights the process of the gradual commercialization of the slow logo and suggests the rise of a post-slow stage in the history of speed.
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Chapter Four: The Temporality of (Other) Pleasures

Extract



And who knows if speed itself will become world weary?

Valéry Larbaud, “Slowness”

There are all sorts of pleasures

that are actually going missing.

Kate Soper, “An Interview”

Published in 1996, Slowness by Milan Kundera may be read as an introduction to the history of the relationship between speed and pleasure. The questions which the protagonist asks and the reflections they inspire illustrate the change in the ways in which the experience of pleasure has been reconceptualized over the course of time:

Why has the pleasure of slowness disappeared? Ah, where have they gone, the amblers of yesteryear? Where have they gone, those loafing heroes of folk song, those vagabonds who roam from one mill to another and bed down under the stars? Have they vanished along with footpaths, with grasslands and clearing, with nature? There is a Czech proverb that describes their indolence by a metaphor: ‘They are gazing at God’s windows.’ A person gazing at God’s windows is not bored; he is happy. In our world, indolence has turned into having nothing to do, which is a completely different thing: a person with nothing to do is frustrated, bored, is constantly searching for the activity he lacks.1

The novel attempts to find answers to these questions by navigating between the present and the 18th century, the age of artificiality and fabrication, deliberately composed scenes and performed emotions, the age which achieved...

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