Who can save the subaltern? Knowledge and power in Amitav Ghosh’s The Circle of Reason
Critical Survey, 16, (2), . (doi:10.3167/001115704782351681).
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This article will explore the relationship between subaltern subjectivity, global itineraries and knowledge production in Ghosh's first novel The Circle of Reason, published in 1986. Various discourses both construct and represent the subaltern in the novel: discourses of global migration, national power as bureaucratic fetishism, science as social mission. My argument is that the narrative enacts a tension between these discourses (embodied in the figures of scientists, theorists, bureaucrats) and the local communities of people that this knowledge affects. I am interested in exploring this discrepancy not as a theory/elite versus praxis/subaltern polarity but rather to focus on the effects unleashed by people or groups who represent the subaltern (for good or ill) in the novel.
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