Abstract

This essay argues that neoliberalism has an aesthetic technology that works alongside its more obvious politico-economic technologies of subjection and subjectivity. This aesthetic technology is expressed in the economic writings of Joseph Schumpeter and in the ethnographic and financial analyses of “Rising Asia” or emerging Asian countries and cultures. Drawing on the aesthetic theories of Theodor Adorno and Jacques Ranciere, this essay contends that contemporary anglo-phone fiction creates an aesthetic dimension within which neoliberalism’s aesthetic technology is situated, traced, and interrogated. Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger and Mohsin Hamid’s How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia are novels that perform a narrative renovation of neoliberalism’s creative destruction. In so doing, they represent the expansive networks of neoliberal globalization and the actors involved in these networks as aesthetic objects rather than sovereign subjects or fetishized commodities. Through a stylized prose that imitates rather than authenticates the economic and empirical world, Adiga’s and Hamid’s fictions reconfigure and tease a different sensibility out of the language of Rising Asia discourse. Both novels operate through an aesthetic dimension of semblance and imitation rather than an energetic mode of creative destruction. Through the formal twists and turns of literary genres, they reframe and redistribute sensibility rather than provide an authoritative affirmation of entrepreneurial subjectivity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1932-8656
Print ISSN
1932-8648
Pages
pp. 173-190
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-09
Open Access
No
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