The Child, the Narrative, and the Global Biopolitical
thesisposted on 07.12.2012, 00:00 by Tracey Layng-Awasthi
The Child, the Narrative, and the Global Biopolitical Tracey Layng-Awasthi, Ph.D. Department of English University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, Illinois (2011) Dissertation Chairperson: Ralph Cintron The Narrative of the Child, pathos, and the imagined community of the child create a space for the global biopolitical to function on behalf of the child. The Narrative is situated within a conceptual apparatus formed from the rhetoric of pathos, Lee Edelman’s assertion that children shape the political and are the recipients of political interventions, Slajov Zizek’s choix-force and the psychotic move, Vivana Zelizer’s nineteenth-century sentimentalization and sacralization movements, and Masser and Creed’s song “The Greatest Love of All.” Using both academic and popular sources to articulate the Narrative and its intuitive reproduction within communities shows that while the Narrative is the organic outcome of nineteenth century social reform and child labor movements, it is still applicable today. The Narrative is not merely present within popular culture and academia, but is also informing practical decisions in education, politics, and humanitarian agencies. As the theoretical and practical applications converge, three categories of the child emerge: the National Child, the Known Child, and the Global Child. These three categories, the imagined community of the child, and the Narrative of the Child form the mechanisms through which a nation becomes part of the global community that treats all children as the Known Child. Through the use of the choix-force, the child as recipient of all decisions, and the Narrative and its activation of pathos, the child becomes the bond which both creates and holds the global community together and activates the global biopolitical on behalf of the world’s children.