Rowman and Littlefield International

Complicity and the Politics of Representation

Edited by Cornelia Wächter and Robert Wirth

This volume provides an introduction to an important and timely topic, namely the study of complicity and the politics of representation. It elaborates on recent work on complicity and applies recent research on complicity to critical whiteness studies, critical memory studies, critical psychology and psychiatry.

Ebook ISBN: 9781786611208 Release date: Mar 2019
£29.95 €41.95 $45.00
Hardback ISBN: 9781786611192 Release date: Mar 2019
£90.00 €126.00 $135.00

Pages: 282


This book explores the concept of complicity with regard to the politics of representation. Over the past decades, complicity critique has evolved and become integral to literary and cultural studies. Nonetheless, the concept of complicity remains fundamentally underresearched. Addressing topical and exigent concerns such as white supremacy, war and displacement, child abuse and mentalism, this timely volume explores how producers, texts, consumers and critics can either intentionally or unwittingly become complicit in the creation and perpetuation of social harm – and how the structures supporting such complicities can be resisted. The contributors aim to raise awareness and lay the groundwork for a utopian ‘radical unfolding’ that enables not just non-complicity, i.e. the refusal to be complicit, but anti-complicity – the active and collective resistance to social harm.

1. Introduction: Complicity and the Politics of Representation

Cornelia Wächter

2. The Chapters

Cornelia Wächter and Robert Wirth


3. Complicit Configurations: Narrating the Partition of India in Auden, Madhvani and Brenton

Christoph Singer

4. Complicity on the Small Screen: Ordinary Germans as Perpetrators in Recent German TV Miniseries on World War II and the Holocaust

Volker Benkert

5. Literary Complicity and the Differend: Naturalizing, Ontologizing, and Self-Referential Representations of National Socialist Persecution

Lorraine Markotic

6. Guilt and Autonomy in Geoffrey Hill’s and Hermann Broch’s Works

Olaf Berwald

7. An Illusion of Absence: The Picturesque and Culpable Ignorance in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day and The Buried Giant

Ivan Stacy


8. A Radical Unfolding: Utopianism Against Complicity

John Storey

9. Complicity: Narratives, Articulations and the Politics of Representation

Paul Reynolds

10. A Murmur of Indifference to Authorial Identity in Intellectual Life

Brendan Moran

11. I spy with my little eye something complicity simple: Eighteenth-Century Caricature Tricks

Mihaela Irimia


12. The Black Counter-Gaze: Complicity and White Privilege in Claudia Rankine’s Citizen

Alexandra Hartmann

13. Challenging Complicity in the Context of Mentalism: Mental Distress Autobiographies and Performance Art

Elisabeth Punzi and Katrin Röder

14. Representation of Complicity with Child Sexual Abuse in the Movies: Spotlight and Doubt

Eli Teram

15. “ understand everything that came her way”: Complicity and the Child Protagonist

Elizabeth Gilbert

Works Cited


About the Contributors

Cornelia Wächter is Assistant Professor of British Cultural Studies at the Ruhr University Bochum, Germany. She is the author of Place-ing the Prison Officer: The ‘Warder’ in the British Literary and Cultural Imagination (Brill, 2015) and co-edited Middlebrow and Gender, 1890-1945 (Brill, 2016) with Christoph Ehland.

Robert Wirth is a Research Assistant in the Department of English and American Studies at the University of Paderborn, Germany, lecturing in English Language and British Cultural and Literary Studies.

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