22nd Mar 2017 5:00pm
Uschi Klein, Seeing self and world: everyday photography and young male adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
The digitalisation of technology has altered the relationship between photography and its users, and affects the way people interact with the world. Cameras are embedded in mobile devices, and connected to wider communication networks, which further extend the range of photography’s social and cultural uses. People are more likely to carry digital cameras or smartphones where they go, which facilitates the engagement with the medium in different environments, and allows for photographs to go beyond family rites and other recognised photographic moments. Indeed, it is impossible to think of a world without photography.
Anna Travis, Interior monologue as social critique inJames Kelman’s How Late It Was, How Late (1994)
‘Ye have to understand about the law, it isnay there to apply to them, it’s there to apply to us, it’s them that makes it.’ (310)
‘just a drunken Scotsman railing against bureaucracy’, Rabbi Julia Neuberger in response to HL’s entry to the 1994 Booker Prize.
James Kelman’s use of interior monologue, in his novel How Late It Was, How Late, portrays a consciousness enacting Althusser’s modern state paradox, the creation of a contradiction within the subject between the ideology of freesubjectivity and the reality of subjection (181). Protagonist Sammy Samuelsdisplays this contradiction when readers are thrown into his private voice of ‘free’ subjectivity, railing against the voices of social subjection. Interior monologue becomes a stoic core, an authentic, autonomous realm in this work. This is achieved by placing a direct, free-form inner voice center stage, reacting to the sensory disorientation of sudden blindness (inflicted by police), and confronting the ritualized, convoluted, bureaucratic voices of public sector workers who refuse to ‘officially’ recognize his sight loss.
This abject subject exhibits an obscene stoicism in its quest for an authentic mode of survival. Shreds of dignity can only be voiced in a resolutely inner space and in Sammy’s idiolect. Interior monologue potentially gives voice to oppressed subjects, but something more commanding is at work here. The ‘inner space’ in fiction constructs a terrain for the dialectics of authenticity to fully inhabit.
Sammy’s Kantian autonomy, his motivation by rational principle, lies in his rejection of the welfare system, to whom he is a phase in a bureaucratic process. His interior monologue rescues agency, through consistent inner logic ‘yejust plough on, ye plough on, ye just fucking plough on, that’s what you do’ (37). In Kelman’s interior monologue such pronouncements become ‘authentic’ truths, addressed to the self, away from potential ‘contamination’ by social obligation or public expression. Speaking only to himself, authoring his story, Sammy avoids being swallowed by state agencies who construct his narrative.
An interior monologue void of narrative interception forms Kelman’s seemingly seamless ‘stream-of-consciousness’ technique. This strategy requires the reader to wrestle with the paradoxical gap between the protaganist’s brutal predicament and stoic response, and their antagonistic, inhumane social context, and to question what forces demand this conversation remains interior.
The College of Arts and Humanities Research Forum
The forum is designed to be complementary to the various other research seminar series and gives an opportunity for researchers to share their work with audiences from a range of disciplines in the College. It is often this cross-disciplinary exchange and the critical and creative discussion that develops that is particularly useful. All are extremely welcome to come along to any of these forum meetings. If you’ve any queries about the forum or suggestions for the future, do get in touch either with Jack Lane, Research Student Administrator, J.lane2@Brighton.ac.uk, or with any of the forum convenors.