Investigating Identity, Ambivalence, Hybridity: A Bhabhaian Reading of J. M. Coetzee’s Foe and Disgrace

Jalal Mostafaee


The present paper seeks to investigate J.M. Coetzee's Foe and Disgrace in terms of Homi K. Bhabha's concept of Identities/Subjectivities. Homi K.  Bhabha is one of the most important contemporary figure in postcolonial studies; he argues that ambivalence is existed at the site of colonial dominance. He argues that ambivalence is existed at the site of colonial dominance. The colonizer forcefully asserts his superiority to the colonized, but the feeling of fear is created concerning identity, which is imposed on them. The paper also seeks on the notion of hybridity which indicates that the practices of colonial authority is intermingling other texts and discourses which results in a hybridization that facilitates colonial domination.  Bhabha's reading of Lacan accords well with the ambivalence he traces in various writers. It is what Lacan calls the mirror stage that is central to Bhabha's reading. Bhabha believes that ‘’the mirror stage encapsulates what happens in colonial discourse's stereotyping productions: the mirror stage is at least a good model for the colonial situation’’. Bhabha suggests that like’’ the mirror phase the fullness of the stereotype_ its image as identity_ is always threatened by lack.’’ A telling and recurring idea in Coetzee's fiction is that the force of the colonizer is formative of the identity of the colonized, something to be embraced and this paper aims to investigate this closely by using Bhabha's concepts.

Keywords: Ambivalence, Apartheid, Colonial discourse, Hybridity, Marginality, Mimicry, Stereotype, Uncanny

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