The Spectral Metaphor by Esther Peeren
Living Ghosts and the Agency of Invisibility

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What does it mean to live as a ghost? Exploring spectrality as a potent metaphor in the contemporary British and American cultural imagination, Peeren proposes that certain subjects – migrants, servants, mediums and missing persons – are perceived as living ghosts and examines how this impacts on their ability to develop agency. From detailed readings of films (Stephen Frears's Dirty Pretty Things, Nick Broomfield's Ghosts and Robert Altman's Gosford Park), a television series (Upstairs, Downstairs) and novels (Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black, Sarah Waters's Affinity, Ian McEwan's The Child in Time and Bret Easton Ellis's Lunar Park) emerges an inventive account of how the spectral metaphor, in its association with various modes of invisibility, can signify both dispossession and empowerment. In reworking the spectral insights of, among others, Jacques Derrida, Antonio Negri and Achille Mbembe, Peeren suggests new responses to the practices of marginalization and exploitation that characterize our globalized world.

About Esther Peeren

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Esther Peeren is Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Researcher at the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies and the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, Netherlands. She authored Intersubjectivities and Popular Culture (2008) and co-edited Popular Ghosts (2010) and The Spectralities Reader (2013).
Published January 30, 2014 by Palgrave Macmillan. 232 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Education & Reference, Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction