Re-Imagining Counter-Discourse: Socio-Spatial Transgressions in Poswar Lebanese Literary Productions

Aridi, Farah. 2020. Re-Imagining Counter-Discourse: Socio-Spatial Transgressions in Poswar Lebanese Literary Productions. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This study is concerned with the analysis of experiences of space, including the production of space and the making of place as represented in four postwar Lebanese novels. The aim is to read these processes, as undertaken by the protagonists in cities of violence and conflict, with a focus on their everyday, socio-spatial practices. These are read as transgressive as they are exercised in spite of an established power order by ordinary, marginalised individuals. These experiences are exercised within two specific contexts: The Lebanese civil war (1975-1990) and the Palestinian nakba (1948), both of which are considered as continuous events. This ongoing status of both contexts confines the protagonists of the novels within the bounds of controlled socio-spatial experiences and unremitting marginalisation and oppression. While in Lebanon this was exacerbated through the amnesiac discourse adopted by the postwar state and perpetuated by its neoliberal practices, in Palestine, it was manifest in the continuous oppression and cultural, geographical, and historical erasure of a whole people. The result is an aborted memory and a non-existent reconciliation with a traumatic event. Both the nakba and the civil war necessitated a new form of writing. By focusing on analysing these practices, as attempted on the level of the everyday, this study aims to expose the potentiality of resisting monolithic representations of experiences of war. It argues that the four novels’ experimental form and content contribute to engaging in alternative discourses about the war by highlighting multiplicities that the official historical narrative often leaves out. These novels are able to do so by relying on literary techniques, such as polyvocality, multiplicity of narratives, non-linearity, a focus on the everyday, the manipulation of the boundaries between history and fiction, and a resistance to closure.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):


Lebanon; Postwar Literature; Civil War; Elias Khoury; Hilal Chouman; Rabi Jaber; Space; Place; City; Beirut; Socio-Spatial Practices; The Everyday; The Experience of Space; The Making of Place

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


30 September 2020

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

08 Jun 2021 11:30

Last Modified:

30 Sep 2023 01:26


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