Title

Mobility, Virality, and Security in Hari Kunzru’s Transmission

Editors

Florescu, C. F. & Ma, S-M. (Eds.)

Document Type

Book Section

Publication Date

2017

Publisher

Lexington Books

Publisher Location

Lanham, Maryland

Book Title

Transnational Narratives in Englishes of Exile

First page number:

1

Last page number:

21

Abstract

Globalization, in its utopian configuration, is often touted as the answer to the world’s woes (particularly by its advocates from the West). In that construction, the erasure of boundaries ensures that the flow of goods and labor will ultimately lead to the erasure of difference and the attainment of equality for all (both economic and social). But the dream of globalization, of a world system, is not without its problems. It has become clear that goods are more easily moved than labor, and that human rights are always secondary to economic concerns. In Transmission (2004), Hari Kunzru tackles two principal myths of globalization—that mobility is now a luxury available to all and that utopia will come with the existence of one world culture. Through an exploration of “what lies beneath the rhetoric about seamless networking and open borders,” 1 the novel highlights the resistant social strains that would prevent such homogenization, including calling for national identity cards and ridding nations of unwanted asylum seekers. The result in Kunzru’s satire is “Club Europa”—an attempt to brand Europe as an “exclusive continent.” 2 The novel thus depicts a world in transition, caught between its homogenizing and heterogenizing impulses. And though the contemporary novel is often challenged by the rapidity with which the globalized world evolves and transmutes, it nevertheless finds itself ideally suited to dramatize and illuminate the paradoxes and conflicts inherent in such portentous change. The dialogic qualities of the novel allow for its maintaining different viewpoints in apparent contradiction with each other, while simultaneously demonstrating their inevitable linkage.

Keywords

Literary criticism, American, General; Literary criticism, American, regional; Literary criticism, popular literature

Disciplines

Comparative Literature | Political History

Language

English

Rights

IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/


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