Shaw, Kristian (2016) A Unified Scene? Cosmopolitanism in Contemporary British and American Fiction. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Abstract

The twenty-first century has been marked by an unprecedented intensification in globalisation, transnational mobility and technological change. However, the resulting global interconnectedness reveals the continuation of deeply unequal power structures in world society, often exposing rather than ameliorating cultural imbalances. The emergent globalised condition requires a form of narrative representation that accurately reflects the experience of existing as a constituent member of an interconnected global community.

This study of cosmopolitanism in contemporary British and American fiction identifies several authors who demonstrate a willingness to forge new and intensified dialogues between local experience and global flows, and between transnational mobilities and networks of connectivity. Various theories of cosmopolitanism will be examined in order to assess their efficacy in providing direct responses to ways of being-in-relation to others and answering urgent fears surrounding cultural convergence. The five chapters of the study will examine works by David Mitchell, Zadie Smith, Teju Cole, Dave Eggers and Hari Kunzru, and Philip Pullman. By envisioning how society is shaped by the engendering of shared fates brought about by globalisation, the selected fictions by these authors imagine new cosmopolitan modes of belonging and the development of an emergent global consciousness founded on the cross-cultural interdependencies of the post-millennial world.

Despite providing unique and divergent perspectives on the contemporary moment, the fictions indicate that cosmopolitical concerns and crises weaken calls for more progressive and productive forms of harmonious global interconnectedness, and retain a scepticism of more utopian discourses. Cultural relations are increasingly mediated through the awareness of inhabiting a shared, but not unified, world. The study will conclude by arguing that the selected fictions point towards the need for an emergent and affirmative cosmopolitics attuned to the diversity and complexity of twenty-first century globality.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Lisa Bailey
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2017 08:22
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2017 08:22
URI: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/id/eprint/3261

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