Ruining Representation in the Novels of China Miéville: A Deleuzian Analysis of Assemblages in Railsea, The Scar, and Embassytown

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Shaw, Kristen
China Miéville; Deleuze; Guattari; Assemblages; Representation; Difference; Bodies; Embassytown; The Scar; Railsea; Continental Philosophy; English Language and Literature
article description
This work explores the social and political potentialities of body-assemblages in China Miéville‘s novels Railsea, The Scar and Embassytown. Using the theories of Deleuze and Deleuze and Guattari, my analysis focuses on the manner in which assemblages within these texts resist unification and reification under representational frameworks and forge new identities based on an ethical appreciation of difference, fluidity, and creative self-actualization. Whereas representational schemas privilege supposedly ahistorical, transcendent, and cognitive-based iterations of identity divorced from material contingencies, the assemblages at work in Railsea, The Scar, and Embassytown instead focus on embodied-knowledge and fluid, emergent notions of identity, society, and political reality. It is this latter strategy that allows the variable assemblages within the novels to combat oppression and forge new types of communities, environments, and identities that produce affirmative and liberating solutions to political and individual conflicts.