(Re)configurations of power and identities in twenty-first century fiction

Ng, Soo Nee. 2010. (Re)configurations of power and identities in twenty-first century fiction. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

ECL_thesis_Ng_2010.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

My dissertation is interested in exploring dialectical relations that reveal complex power (im)balances in recent fiction. In my close reading of five novels published since the year 2000, I reflect on the postmodern legacy in the twenty-first century, after the declaration of the death of metanarratives and the concomitant emergence of marginalized voices in late twentieth century. How has fiction in recent years engage with persistent macro narratives in the light of emergent voices? What are the new questions and/or positions that are opened up, recurring issues that are unsettled, or even promises unfulfilled, in these writings with regards to the ‘maturation’ of formerly disenfranchised identities?

There are three main areas of contention that I will analyse in my reading of the novels: gender relations, diasporic and local identities, as well as the role of scientific thought in present-day representations of identities, particularly its narratives of Darwinism, genetics and reproduction. They are compelling issues as, despite the postmodern drive to collapse margins and center, they represent instances of recurring peripheral and dominating narratives; indeed, even as familiar power dynamics are challenged or undermined, new ones are born. I will examine in individual chapters the novels’ portrayal of both old and new structures of opposition and power within the discourse of two formerly disenfranchised voices: the female and the colonized/decolonized. Following this will be a chapter on the literary reflection on the hegemonic role of science in our society today. These chapters, as well as areas of overlap within and among them, reveal the ever-increasing complexity and interconnectedness of power relations that demand the intellectual skill, dexterity, and concentration akin to that of a tightrope walker to achieve a nuanced understanding of individual and collective identities in the twenty-first century.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


26 October 2010

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

06 Feb 2012 16:31

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 08:23



View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)