Unsettling stories: Jeanette Winterson and the cultivation of political contingency

Hutchison, Emma (2010) Unsettling stories: Jeanette Winterson and the cultivation of political contingency. Global Society, 24 3: 351-368. doi:10.1080/13600826.2010.485561

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Author Hutchison, Emma
Title Unsettling stories: Jeanette Winterson and the cultivation of political contingency
Journal name Global Society   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1360-0826
Publication date 2010-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1080/13600826.2010.485561
Volume 24
Issue 3
Start page 351
End page 368
Total pages 18
Place of publication Abingdon, Oxfordshire, UK
Publisher Carfax
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject C1
1606 Political Science
360105 International Relations
Abstract This article examines Jeanette Winterson's novels to show how storytelling can hold transformative political potential. Storytelling is fundamental to human existence. Stories help to provide structure and meaning in what often seems a random, haphazard world. Yet stories can help to not only construct political realities but also transform them. Key here, I argue, is the ability of stories to inspire the imagination needed to render entrenched political patterns and practices contingent. To analyse the potentials and limits of storytelling to do this, the present article examines the fiction of Jeanette Winterson. Her novels adventure into a wondrous world where reality and fantasy combine and established patterns of knowledge are juxtaposed with what is conventionally deemed myth. Winterson's preoccupation with storytelling challenges dominant representations of history and identity and in effect foregrounds different ways to perceive of political realities. Exploring the relationship between storytelling, contingency and politics, the article illustrates how fictional accounts can help scholars reclaim contingency as a critical component of political understanding: it can help to illuminate vanquished identities and perspectives and in so doing bring to the fore alternative, unforeseen social and political possibilities. © 2010 University of Kent.
Keyword Contingency
World politics
Political understanding
Political ideology
Political relations
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Special Issue: Aesthetics and Global Politics

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
School of Political Science and International Studies Publications
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Created: Mon, 18 Oct 2010, 16:31:14 EST by Dr Emma Hutchison on behalf of School of Political Science & Internat'l Studies