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Failing States, Human (In)Security, and the American World Novel
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-8634-7870
2019 (English)In: New Global Studies, ISSN 1940-0004, Vol. 13, no 1, p. 80-101Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

As a growing number of contemporary American novelists take the world and its socio-cultural and geopolitical complexity as their subject matter, the contemporary novel's form and sense of worldliness are shifting. Twenty-first century US fiction challenges normative models of the world proposed by theories of cosmopolitan relationality by projecting fragile worlds of strife and trauma, in which violence accompanies geopolitical turbulence. In these novels, discourses around human security-the everyday security needs of vulnerable populations-are increasingly prominent. Accordingly, contemporary US fiction often incorporates within its geopolitical imaginary such issues as human rights, humanitarian interventions, development, and how life is disabled by prejudice, civil war, scarcity, and health or other crises. In this essay, I range across a number of works by contemporary American novelists such as Dave Eggers, Jennifer Egan, Denis Johnson, Dana Spiotta, and Bob Shacochis in which state failures as well as human and geopolitical security concerns impact on the form given to the world by these novelists. In their novels, narratives concerning human security as well as threats to geopolitical stability produce transnational geographies in which global interconnections and circulation intensify feelings of insecurity.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 13, no 1, p. 80-101
Keywords [en]
US fiction, world novel, human security, state failure, humanitarian interventions
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-383877DOI: 10.1515/ngs-2019-0005ISI: 000466571400005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-383877DiVA, id: diva2:1323537
Available from: 2019-06-12 Created: 2019-06-12 Last updated: 2019-06-12Bibliographically approved

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Watson, David

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  • apa
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  • en-US
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