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Herald of hybridity: the emancipation of difference in Hanif Kureishi's "The Buddha of Suburbia"

Schoene, Berthold (1998) Herald of hybridity: the emancipation of difference in Hanif Kureishi's "The Buddha of Suburbia". International journal of cultural studies, 1 (1). pp. 109-128. ISSN 1367-8779

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Abstract

The paper reads Hanif Kureishi's "The Buddha of Suburbia" as a paradigmatic example of post-imperial ethno-English writing. Kureishi's novel propagates an emancipation of ethnic difference from both the discriminatory stereotyping institutionalized by current multiculturalist discourse as well as the postcolonial migrant subject's propensity for self-oppressive role-play and anglophile mimicry, most notably problematized in Salman Rushdie's intercultural experiment of The Satanic Verses. Kureishi's novel breathes life into the utopian envisionings of several prominent cultural theorists of the 1990s. The paper refers to Homi K. Bhabha's location of culture in the deconstructive Third Space of a cultural in-between as well as Judith Butler's argument on sexuality's subversion of epistemological closure. It also discusses Terry Eagleton's call for a radical redefinition of the relations between cultural homo- and heterogeneity and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's axiomatic concerning a proprioceptive liberation of the individual subject from the ideological straitjackets of hegemonic perception.

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