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Our wills and fates : the politics of identity in contemporary American fiction and film


Loren, Scott. Our wills and fates : the politics of identity in contemporary American fiction and film. 2005, University of Zurich, Faculty of Arts.

Abstract

This study analyzes contemporary North American fiction and film in an effort to determine that the legacy of the American Dream has manifest itself in an injunction to adhere to a socially splintered sense of identity. It considers the condition of how, in 'postmodern' society, we are increasingly confronted with narratives depicting crises in subjectivity as they are determined within symbolic space. Drawing on Althusser, the introductory section on cyborgs addresses questions of identity production, establishing a fallacy of authenticity as one potential impetus for a characteristic panic related to identity. Moving on to conspiracy narratives, I address the significance of agency in relation to subjectivity, and utilize the concept of conspiracy as a framework to talk about the Lacanian orders of the symbolic and the imaginary as they are applicable to subjectivity. A section on aliens outlines reworkings of traditional western religious narratives in contemporary fiction. The notion of reinvention implicit here acts as a bridge to a discussion of the American Dream, arguing that its injunction to reinvent the self takes shape in adherence to imaginary phantasmatic space. I employ the notion of California as 'dream factory' and quintessential location of the Dream, giving a reading of David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. Conclusively, I develop a theory of the shifting desire of the big Other and the essential function of a full traversal of phantasmatic space in defining narratives. Reading Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ against Niki Caro's Whale Rider we are confronted with what a move toward subjectivity entails within our culturally defining narratives.

Abstract

This study analyzes contemporary North American fiction and film in an effort to determine that the legacy of the American Dream has manifest itself in an injunction to adhere to a socially splintered sense of identity. It considers the condition of how, in 'postmodern' society, we are increasingly confronted with narratives depicting crises in subjectivity as they are determined within symbolic space. Drawing on Althusser, the introductory section on cyborgs addresses questions of identity production, establishing a fallacy of authenticity as one potential impetus for a characteristic panic related to identity. Moving on to conspiracy narratives, I address the significance of agency in relation to subjectivity, and utilize the concept of conspiracy as a framework to talk about the Lacanian orders of the symbolic and the imaginary as they are applicable to subjectivity. A section on aliens outlines reworkings of traditional western religious narratives in contemporary fiction. The notion of reinvention implicit here acts as a bridge to a discussion of the American Dream, arguing that its injunction to reinvent the self takes shape in adherence to imaginary phantasmatic space. I employ the notion of California as 'dream factory' and quintessential location of the Dream, giving a reading of David Lynch's Mulholland Drive. Conclusively, I develop a theory of the shifting desire of the big Other and the essential function of a full traversal of phantasmatic space in defining narratives. Reading Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ against Niki Caro's Whale Rider we are confronted with what a move toward subjectivity entails within our culturally defining narratives.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Dissertation (monographical)
Referees:Bronfen Elisabeth, Madsen Deborah
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
UZH Dissertations
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Place of Publication:Zürich
Date:2005
Deposited On:11 Sep 2018 10:18
Last Modified:25 Feb 2019 21:00
Publisher:Studentendruckerei der Universität Zürich
Number of Pages:257
OA Status:Green
Related URLs:https://www.recherche-portal.ch/primo-explore/fulldisplay?docid=ebi01_prod005050584&context=L&vid=ZAD&search_scope=default_scope&tab=default_tab&lang=de_DE (Library Catalogue)
https://www.alexandria.unisg.ch/86201/ (Library Catalogue)

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