Dressed bodies that mattera study of dress in the literature of the south asian diaspora in Britain

  1. Noemí Pereira Ares
unter der Leitung von:
  1. Margarita Estévez Saá Doktormutter
  2. José Manuel Estévez-Saá Doktorvater/Doktormutter

Universität der Verteidigung: Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

Fecha de defensa: 23 von Januar von 2015

  1. Antonio Raúl de Toro Santos Präsident/in
  2. Manuela Palacios González Sekretärin
  3. María Jesús Lorenzo Modia Vocal
  4. Julio Cañero Serrano Vocal
  5. Román Álvarez Rodríguez Vocal

Art: Dissertation

Teseo: 379136 DIALNET


This dissertation proposal aims to examine the important role that the dressed body plays in the literature of the South Asian diaspora in Britain. It is a central contention of this study, and its main hypothesis, that the relevance accorded to the dressed body in South Asian diaspora writing is trigged by the importance that the dressed body has acquired within certain minority communities living in the West. In recent years, the question of what to wear has become one of the hottest issues in many modern Western societies, above all, in relation to garments such as the controversial female veil. Given that a large number of narratives centred on the South Asian diaspora reflect real sociological date or contain biographical resonances, it is not surprising, therefore, that these texts might confer a relevant role to the dressed body. In fact, preliminary analyses show how many authors whose work revolves around multi-ethnic contexts accord particular attention to the character dressed bodies as a means through which to dramatize complex identity issues. The first objective of this study is to highlight the importance that the dressed body acquires in the narratives of the South Asian diaspora, narratives which confer particular relevance to sartorial descriptions, the characters choice of clothes, or the contrast between Eastern and Western sartorial mores. Secondly, the study seeks to develop a comprehensive and rigorous analysis of the different roles that dress acquires within the literary text, both from a purely theoretical perspective and from a socio-cultural approach to the literary phenomenon. In this last respect, the study aims to demonstrate how in South Asian diaspora fictions the dressed body is often used as a sub-text through which important identity questions are problematized. Finally, an in a more tangential manner, the study seeks to apply the sociology of the dressed body to the analysis of literature, thus contributing to expanding the field of cultural studies through literature. The corpus of analysis focuses on literary texts that describe South Asian communities settled in Britain. We have selected the work of writers such as Hanif Kureishi, Meera Syal and Monica Ali, amongst many others. As far as the methodology is concerned, this dissertation proposes to make use of an interdisciplinary approach, combining 1) postcolonial, diaspora and transcultural studies; and 2) sociological and anthropological studies on dress. The main contribution of this study relies on its ability to open new research lines within the realm of literary criticism in general, and of South Asian diaspora literary criticism in particular. Firstly, and in an indirect way, this study will help to build on existing studies on dress, mostly in areas such as those of cultural studies and sociology. Secondly, and in a more direct fashion, the main interest of this study lies in its attempt to fill in a void within literary criticism, as it carries out a comprehensive and systematic analysis of dress descriptions within various literary texts. Thirdly, through its engagement with the dressed body, this study also serves to explore a variety of cultural and identity issues. Finally, the sartorial analyses contained within this study will also help to expand the existing literary criticism on South Asian diaspora writing, and to reassess an entire literary tradition that is revitalizing contemporary literature in English.