Making tracks: writing otherness in refugee narrative fiction

LeClerc, M 2018, Making tracks: writing otherness in refugee narrative fiction, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Media and Communication, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Making tracks: writing otherness in refugee narrative fiction
Author(s) LeClerc, M
Year 2018
Abstract This practice-based study centres around the writing of an ethnographically informed novel manuscript entitled All the Time Lost, that follows the lives of four characters from refugee backgrounds across a day in Melbourne. This dissertation uses the writing process of the novel manuscript as somewhat of an experiment. It examines the evolution of the three drafts of the novel, each using a different method for writing Otherness: the first is based on fieldwork, the second is based on interviews and the third draft resulted from gaining feedback from interview participants. The dissertation examines the differences and consistencies between these drafts. The theoretical work locates the ethnographically-informed fictional novel in the context of the politics and practice of writing the Other in fiction. The differences in the drafts suggest that speaking to the people of the backgrounds represented in the novel produces a different kind of novel to the one the writer would produce without this interaction. I argue that before interviews, I tended to adhere to the ‘national story,’ (see Birch 2013) one which referenced existing stories told about Otherness. In this story, issues that reflected the country negatively, such as racism, were downplayed. Interviews led to a ‘post-national story,’ which challenged the national story. In this second manuscript draft, issues, such as racism, became more pronounced. The third draft provided important insight into the process of gaining feedback from interview participants, though few changes were suggested. The implication is that writing without discussion with the people represented can be problematic. If not adequately reflected upon, it has the potential to reinforce the dominant cultural narrative. As such, this dissertation argues for a more nuanced framing of the debate to allow for traditional notions of what is acceptable in writing to be questioned.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Media and Communication
Subjects Creative Writing (incl. Playwriting)
Keyword(s) the Other
creative writing
ethnography
refugee narratives
national story
fiction
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Created: Fri, 20 Jul 2018, 09:20:12 EST by Denise Paciocco
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