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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Alienation in Irvine Welsh's

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Abstract

This article examines how Melvin Seeman's theory of alienation (1959) and modern alienation research manifest in Irvine Welsh's "Trainspotting". This is an important novel, not only because of its commercial success, but also because it depicts a specific marginalised subculture. Postmodernism and systems theory approaches, as well as changes in the social and political spheres have motivated researchers such as Geyer (1996), Kalekin-Fishman (1998) and Neal and Collas (2000) to reinterpret Seeman's theory. This article attempts to incorporate this new theory of alienation in the analysis of contemporary fiction. Seeman identifies five aspects of alienation, namely powerlessness, meaninglessness, normlessness, social isolation and self-estrangement. Following Neal and Collas (2000), in particular, this article omits self-estrangement, but shows how the other four aspects of alienation have changed since Seeman's formulation. It is argued that "Trainspotting" depicts a specific occurrence of alienation in modern western society, besides normlessness, meaninglessness, and social isolation, highlighting Seeman's concept of powerlessness, in particular. The article further argues that applying Seeman's theory of alienation in the study of contemporary literature provides a fresh theoretical approach that contributes to the understanding of how fiction engages with its environment.


Hierdie artikel ondersoek hoe Melvin Seeman se teorie van vervreemding (1959), sowel as moderne navorsing rondom vervreemding, in Irvine Welsh se "Trainspotting" manifesteer. "Trainspotting" is 'n belangrike roman, nie net omdat dit 'n kommersiële sukses was nie, maar ook omdat dit 'n spesifieke subkultuur uitbeeld. Postmodernisme en sisteemteoretiese benaderings, sowel as 'n veranderende sosiale en politieke klimaat, het navorsers soos Geyer (1996), Kalekin-Fishman (1998) en Neal en Collas (2000) genoodsaak om Seeman se teorie te herinterpreteer. Hierdie artikel is 'n poging om hierdie nuwe vervreemdingsteorie te inkorporeer in die analise van hedendaagse fiksie. Seeman identifiseer vyf aspekte van vervreemding: magteloosheid, betekenisloosheid, normloosheid, sosiale vervreemding en selfvervreemding. In navolging van veral Neal en Collas (2000) laat hierdie artikel die laaste aspek weg, maar wys hoe die ander vier aspekte van vervreemding sedert Seeman verander het. Daar word aangevoer dat "Trainspotting" 'n spesifieke vergestalting van vervreemding in die moderne westerse leefwêreld uitbeeld, wat veral Seeman se magteloosheid op die voorgrond plaas, alhoewel betekenisloosheid, normloosheid en sosiale isolasie ook 'n beduidende rol speel. Die artikel voer vervolgens aan dat die toepassing van Seeman se vervreemdingsteorie 'n nuwe benadering tot die hedendaagse literatuur bied, veral ten opsigte van die wyse waarop hierdie literatuur betrokkenheid met die omgewing toon.

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/content/literat/31/1/EJC62130
2010-04-01
2016-12-04
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