Mendes, AC and Lau, L (2022) Hospitality and Amnesty: Aravind Adiga’s Narrative of Legal Liminality. Interventions. 1 - 17. ISSN 1369-801X

[thumbnail of Interventions_R1_Amnesty_main document  (anonymous).docx] Text
Interventions_R1_Amnesty_main document (anonymous).docx - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 19 July 2023.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (60kB)


Amnesty continues several of the social justice themes of precarity and subalternity (at times, a violent subaltern agency) of Aravind Adiga’s fiction, and its literary narrative centres again on criminal acts and the moral dilemma the protagonist faces over whether to report a murder and expose his illegality to do “the right thing.” Offering a postcolonial reading of Amnesty supported by concepts from migration, citizenship, and human rights studies, this essay discusses the novel’s representation of the inhospitable conditions experienced by migrants victimized by the precarity of their status, whether discursively categorized as illegal, irregular, undocumented, unauthorized, or unlawful; by the consequent exploitations and abuse without recourse to justice; and by the suspension of their human rights. The theme of illegality is approached in Adiga’s narrative from a more radical perspective of liminality – the state of “legal liminality” in which irregular migrants find themselves when longing to belong in the host country, or at least be legalized, while gripped and besieged by myriad daily fears and anxieties that their legal status will be discovered, compounded by a resolute refusal to leave the host country. Adiga forces this theoretical question of legal liminality to an extreme by presenting a protagonist who, as an irregular migrant, has committed the political crime of illegally overstaying in the host country. The central question of amnesty is raised when the protagonist faces the dilemma of stepping up to civic responsibilities without having been conceded participatory rights.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final version of this article and all relevant information related to it, including copyrights, can be found on the publisher website.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Geography, Geology and the Environment
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2022 10:48
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2022 10:48

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item