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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.54, No.2, 263 ~ 280, 2008
Kureishi`s The Buddha of Suburbia and the Issue of Re-ethnicization
이석구 Suk Koo Rhee
Arif Dirlik in Postmodernity`s Histories sees the issue of re-ethnicization in the case of John Huang, China`s alleged attempt at lobbying the Clinton administration. In this view, Americans with Chinese surnames were suspected by the US Justice Department to be possible spies working for Beijing. Reethnicization here seems to serve the mainstream society in reducing an ethnic minority to a group of aliens operating for their countries of origin. However, re-ethnicization is not necessarily a one-way oppressive operation; it is often made use of by the ethnic minorities in their efforts to adapt to their country of arrival. Haroon and Karim, the protagonists of Hanif Kureishi`s The Buddha of Suburbia, are cases in point. They are portrayed as winning social recognition and securing a place of their own within the hostile host society through a strategic use of re-ethnicization, that is, masquerading as `genuine Orientals`. This study brings to light possible fallacies or misguided expectations concerning the political position of first- and second-generation immigrants. One of the fallacies is found in the racist metropolis, which regards the ethnic minorities as a sort of resident aliens, no matter what immigrant generation the latter belongs to. Another fallacy is found in the kind of postcolonial criticism that automatically regards an anti-racist critique advanced by people like Kureishi as something motivated by a confrontational tactic, that is, an attempt at subverting the colonial power relations. The conclusion of this study is that Kureishi`s agenda, as presented in The Buddha of Suburbia, is neither the preservation of an ethnic identity nor the subversion of colonial power relations but survival in the metropolis. On this account Kureish`s agenda can be called a micro-politics.
Key Words
하니프 쿠레이쉬, 『교외의 부처』, 아리프 덜릭, 재인종화, 생존, 마이크로정치학, 탈식민, 인종적 소수, Hanif Kureishi, The Buddha of Suburbia, Arif Dirlik, re-ethnicization, survival, micro-politics, postcolonial, ethnic minorities,영미문학, 문화연구, 비교문학, 비평이론, English and American Literature, cultural studies, comparative literature, critical theory
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