Discourse, Power and Resistance in Nadine Gordimer's Occasion for Loving: A Foucauldian Reading
3L Language, Linguistics and Literature: The Southeast Asian Journal of English Language Studies
This paper is concerned with two fundamental phenomena in any society: discourse and power. It focuses on how power is being reproduced by discourse in society. Many forms of social inequality, such as those based on gender, class, sexuality and race, are construed, perpetuated and legitimated by discourse. The critical method in this study is influenced by Michel Foucault's theories on power and discourse. It is in discourse, as Foucault puts it, that power and knowledge are joined together.
... joined together. However, Foucault argues that discourse is both the means of oppressing and the means of resistance. This study examines these forms of the discursive reproduction of power in Nadine Gordimer's novel, Occasion for Loving (1963). The researchers aim to explore how the control and power shaping and defining discourse in the prison-society of apartheid South Africa reveals the inevitable entanglement of the personal and the political and how such a relationship can be used by the artist to resist and subvert the controlling social and political discourses. The paper also sheds light on how Gordimer generates a discourse that challenges the apartheid's legal discourse on race and interracial sexuality. 38 affirming or resisting those effects. The present paper explores the discourses of race and interracial sexuality and the institution of white family and its collusion with apartheid in Gordimer's Occasion for Loving in the light of Foucault's theories. The paper also explores how Gordimer's fiction per se serves as a discourse resisting and opposing the institution of apartheid. LITERATURE REVIEW This study differs from that of other critics who have written on various aspects of Gordimer's writing since its emergence more than six decades ago. Although an enormous body of criticism has been done on Gordimer's work, very few studies of Gordimer's novels through the lens of Foucault's theories have been attempted so far. Rita Barnard stresses the need for a new characterisation of South African literature: Despite the fact that two South African writers have been awarded the Nobel Prize, South African literature is still in some ways an emerging field of enquiry and one that continues to require redefinition in view of the changed circumstances in the country.