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February Is the Cruelest Month: Neoliberalism and the Economy of Mourning in Lisa Moore's February (Critical Essay)

Newfoundland and Labrador Studies 2010, Spring, 25, 1

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IN TAKING STOCK of the present state of literature in Newfoundland and Labrador, a crucial development over the last twenty years is evident the emergence of a palpably cosmopolitan and globalized sensibility. This is particularly the case in the work of urban writers such as Michael Winter, Jessica Grant, Edward Riche, and Lisa Moore. Not only are the characters in their fiction cosmopolitan globe-trotters who are plugged into an international popular culture, but their work also reflects a preoccupation with the sophisticated technology, mobility, flows of trade, and geopolitical relations that characterize our present globalized milieu. At the same time, there is ambivalence about globalization in their work. That is especially important to underscore because celebratory interpretations of globalization (characterized as a rise in global prosperity brought about by greater mobility and financial and technological innovations) have been increasingly critiqued for effacing--even providing covering fire for--an underlying institutionalization of a neoliberal ideology. As theorists such as Zygmunt Bauman, Pierre Bourdieu and David Harvey have highlighted, neoliberal thinking--which privileges deregulation, privatization, the easing of financial transactions, diminution of governmental involvement in the economy, and reduction of the public sector--has facilitated and justified a vast, global redistribution of wealth. For Harvey, the triumph of neoliberalism's positing of itself as a kind of world-wide common sense is evident in the treatment of the unprecedented concentration of wealth in "the world's major financial centres" as "a mere and in some instances even unfortunate byproduct of neoliberalization. The very idea that this might be ... the fundamental core of what neoliberalization has been about all along appears unthinkable." (119) This skepticism about the economic, political, and ideological foundations of globalization is also evident in some contemporary Newfoundland literature, reflecting the degree to which the province, like the rest of Atlantic Canada, has been affected by the global embrace of neoliberal thinking and practices. As Thorn Workman notes in Social Torment: Globalization in Atlantic Canada:

February Is the Cruelest Month: Neoliberalism and the Economy of Mourning in Lisa Moore's February (Critical Essay)
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  • Category: Reference
  • Published: 22 March 2010
  • Publisher: Newfoundland and Labrador Studies, Faculty of Arts Publications
  • Print Length: 33 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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