Fragmented, Hybrid, and Diasporic Identities in Hanif Kureishi’s The Buddha of Suburbia

Authors

1 Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

2 Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

Abstract

The processes of cultural transformation in Britain in the second half of the 20th century, the fall of the Empire, immigration from former colonies and the expansion of the multiculturalism, have influenced new ways of looking at the conceptions of identity of diasporic subjects within Britain. Examining these experiences, diasporic novelists write about the second generation immigrants in contemporary Britain who accentuate hybrid existence and complex identities. Hanif Kureishi in The Buddha of Suburbia delineates the formation, the existence, the refashioning of the conceptions of cultural identities of predominantly the second generation immigrants, British born migrants of his own generation and the challenges the perceptions of such identities as essentialist and fixed concepts. The novel depicts a protagonist whose cultural identity is fragmented and far from homogeneous. London with its heterogeneous character is symbolized as a place of social encounter and cultural intermixture, a decentered place that stimulates the exploration of transnational models of identity. Kureishi’s writing can be seen as an example of the fact that many conceptual binaries, such as centre and periphery, self and other, inside and outside, have been challenged and have given way to more mutable concepts of hybridity, transculturation, border lives  and ‘in-between’ space.

Keywords