Immigrant to a terrorist: on liquid fears in Hari Kunzru's Transmission

Title: Immigrant to a terrorist: on liquid fears in Hari Kunzru's Transmission
Source document: Brno studies in English. 2014, vol. 40, iss. 2, pp. [67]-76
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license

Notice: These citations are automatically created and might not follow citation rules properly.

The purpose of this paper is to discuss Kunzru's novel in the context of Zygmunt Bauman's theories concerning "liquid modernity". The article focuses mainly on the exploration of fears which haunt modern man on the individual and collective level. The main character's act of transmitting a computer virus is seen as an act of protest against unequal treatment and economic exploitation, expressing fear of exclusion, becoming a social outcast and a "wasted life". In the consequence of the global chaos, which ensues when Arjun Mehta loses control over the virus, the protagonist's position changes: a Third World immigrant worker is turned into a global terrorist, thus reflecting Western society's fears of the Other, who may introduce destabilization and be a cause of a "collective catastrophe". Finally, it is argued that the novel comments on modern man's condition of uncertainty and a decreasing ability to predict the consequences of one's actions in the globalizing world.
[1] Appadurai, Arjun (1996) Modernity at Large: Cultural Dimensions of Globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

[2] Bauman, Zygmunt (2004) Wasted Lives. Cambridge: Polity Press.

[3] Bauman, Zygmunt (2005) Liquid Life. Cambridge: Polity Press.

[4] Bauman, Zygmunt (2006a) Liquid Fear. Cambridge: Polity Press.

[5] Bauman, Zygmunt (2006b) Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press.

[6] Bauman, Zygmunt (2007) Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty. Cambridge: Polity Press.

[7] Bysiecka-Maciaszek, Anna (2007) "'Paradise Lost' – Shattered Dreams in Imperial Worlds: V.S. Naipaul's Half a Life and Hari Kunzru's Transmission." In: Kalaga, Wojciech, Marzena Kubisz and Jacek Mydla (eds.) PASE Papers 2007. Vol. 2. Studies in culture and literature. Katowice: PARA, 42–52.

[8] Connell, Liam (2010) "E-Terror: Computer Viruses, Class and Transnationalism in Transmission and One Night @ the Call Center." Journal of Postcolonial Writing 46 (4), 279–290. | DOI 10.1080/17449855.2010.482377

[9] Huysmans, Jef (2000) "The European Union and the Securitization of Migration". Journal of Com-mon Market Studies 38 (5), 751–777. | DOI 10.1111/1468-5965.00263

[10] Kunzru, Hari (2005) Transmission (2004) New York: Plume.

[11] Liao, Pei-Chen (2013) "Crossing the Borders of the Body Politic after 9/11: The Virus Metaphor and Autoimmunity in Hari Kunzru's Transmission". In: Liao, Pei-Chen. 'Post'-9/11 South Asian Diasporic Fiction: Uncanny Terror. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 53–84.