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British Asian FictionTwenty-first Century Voices$
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Sara Upstone

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719078323

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719078323.001.0001

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Hari Kunzru

Hari Kunzru

Chapter:
(p.142) 7 Hari Kunzru
Source:
British Asian Fiction
Author(s):

Sara Upstone

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719078323.003.0008

In 2004, the BBC screened a documentary entitled The Power of Nightmares: the Rise of the Politics of Fear. Written and produced by Adam Curtis, the documentary controversially argues that Islamist terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda are self-realising myths, encouraged by the West (particularly U.S. neoconservatives) in order to construct identifiable enemies resonant with the popular imagination. Curtis does not deny the reality of terrorism; what he denies is a well-coordinated and hidden organisation as the source of this threat. Like Curtis, Hari Kunzru sees an explicit connection between terrorism and selfhood. This chapter examines Kunzru's works, Transmission (2004) and My Revolutions (2007), in which he suggests that individuals with justifiable motives find themselves co-opted into less-ethical schemes with a group mentality which strips them of their individual subjectivity, whether such groups are imaginary (in the case of Transmission) or real (as in My Revolutions). Group identity supersedes the complexity of individual selfhood. The chapter also looks at the politics of selfhood and consciousness, as well as identity versus self.

Keywords:   Hari Kunzru, terrorism, Adam Curtis, myths, selfhood, Transmission, My Revolutions, politics, consciousness, identity

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