Scandal, choice and the economy of minority literature

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This essay proposes to examine minority literature, and the scandals often associated with it, as a function of economy and choice. Rather than weighing the political strategies of identity and representation available to minority literature, this approach aims to dissect the ways its circulation is conditioned both by the modern liberal principle of self-ownership and by the flexible conversion of value among different economies characteristic of late capitalist forms of recognition. The entanglement of these spheres of value becomes explicit in the moment of choice inherent to scandal, where the political or philosophical questions of minority identity are reduced to a matter of expenditure. Using the insights of Amartya Sen and Jean Baudrillard on the prerogative of choice in the constitution of capitalist subjects, I argue that it can offer a more comprehensive account of the political valence of minority literature, and its scandals, than the hermeneutics of representation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-65
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Choice
  • Economy
  • Literature
  • Minority
  • Paul Smaïl
  • Scandal


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