Family as Center of Neoliberal Nightmares

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Abstract

This article investigates the authority-defined discourses of family in a postcolonial city and attempts to understand the conjecture of governmentality and neoliberalism and their inroads into the functioning of a family in the novel Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag. The valorization of the metropolis and the predicament brought forth by its promise of progress and civilization is inscribed in the poignant politics of the modern self. In the postcolonial world, cities are centers of globalization; hence, shifting to cities does not only mean social upliftment but also escape from the rigidities of traditional social structures. A middle-class family in a city is a site of contradictions. It embodies the benefits and pitfalls of modernization. Different contours of colonial and neoliberal governmentality play a role in not only making the present-day heterosexual middle-class family but also consolidating it as a productive force of the nation-state. Linking notions of precarity to rootlessness experienced by individuals in cities, the paper examines family in shaping up alternative notions of modernization.