"Invasion/Invasive"

by Ritvo, Harriet | from Multimedia Library Collection:
Periodicals

Ritvo, Harriet. "Invasion/Invasive." Environmental Humanities 9, no. 1 (2017): 171-174. doi: 10.1215/22011919-3829190.

It is hard to think of anything good about "invasion." As the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) makes clear, whether its agents are nations, individual people, other animals, plants, or microorganisms, an invasion is at least "hostile" and very likely also "harmful." No one is eager to be invaded, whether personally or nationally or ecologically, and even the most self-satisfied invaders tend to characterize their invasions as liberation or restoration. If possible, the OED is even clearer about the connotiation of the related term "invasive", which lacks the faintest whiff of triumph; along with its primary political and military senses, it collocates with diseases and unpleasant medical procedures as well as with organisms out of place (a sense only added in 2003—the Google Ngram for the phrase "invasive species" analogously reveals a striking increase in usage in the final years of the twentieth century). (Text from author)

© Harriet Ritvo 2017. Environmental Humanities is available online only and is published under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).