'"Representational Waste": Refugees, Writing and Affect in this "Restless Epoch"'
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The first two statements are by Zygmunt Bauman 2004, 80 - & - Matravers, in Palencik 2008, 259
I start with these two statements because together they encompass the main concerns this essay will pursue. Working out of the field of literary studies, I am interested in the way much fiction so often sets out to harness the power of emotion as a catalyst for change and transformation. In this essay, I explore the increasingly visible role literary fiction plays in debates about refugees and asylum seekers, and displaced people more generally through work that overtly draws on the power of emotion as a political instrument. Drawing at once on the poetic license of the work of fiction and on its unique way of connecting image to feeling, this essay examines some of the ideological work that much contemporary literature is being compelled to undertake on behalf of refugees. For, the 'production' of the refugee, both as embodied and as representational self, is a far more complex issue than social scientists and historians, driven by an empirical and factual impulse, will allow for.
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