Remades and their Sociospace in China Miéville’s Bas-Lag Trilogy
The aim of the present paper is to consider Remades (posthuman figures who populate China Miéville’s “Bas-Lag trilogy”) as simulacra of their social milieu, highlighting the interconnection of power and economic systems which shapes the “remaking” process and ultimately the position of Remades in society. Two methodological approaches are applied to the analysis. The first draws from Halberstam, Livingston and Micali to account for the “posthumanity” of Remades, interpreting them as liminal figures who physically summarise various categories of inhabitants of the Bas-Lag. The second moves from Foucault’s reflections on the relation between power and punishment and on the centrality of the body in this relation to determine how these categories – power and punishment – work in the context of the specifically posthuman bodies of Remades. Combining these perspectives produces interesting results. First, it can account for the “otherness” of Remades on the level of their physical transformation (from “whole” bodies to Remades) as well as on the level of their social position (from citizens, to prisoners, to outcasts). In addition to this, by providing some key examples, the paper foregrounds that, if the dialectical relationship between Remades and society is overtly inscribed on their bodies, different societies are likely to alter them in different ways. As a result, a totalitarian structure will inflict marks that are not superimposable with those produced by an egalitarian one.
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