Offshore cosmopolitanism: reading the nation in Rana Dasgupta’s Tokyo Cancelled, Lawrence Chua’s Gold by the Inch and Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger

Liam Connell

University of Winchester


Following Ronen Palan’s The Offshore World (2003) Connell understands the central feature of the offshore as the‘bifurcation of the nation state’: the state splits itself in two by continuing to govern those areas that remain easy to legislate while surrendering to the international realm those which do not. Connell considers how the offshore can be understood as a form of cosmopolitanism, with a particular emphasis on the way that the obligations of the state are stretched to accommodate foreign businesses, foreign capital and even foreign citizens. Yet, as Connell demonstrates, the cosmopolitan promise of the offshore conceals the double nature of the nation-state which functions both as a node for discursive community formation and, simultaneously, as cover for the evasion of any communal responsibilities that this might imply. Reading Lawrence Chua’s Gold by the Inch (1998), Rana Dasgupta’s Tokyo Cancelled (2006) and Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger (2008) Connell examines how the idea of national belonging struggles to survive in representations of the offshore. In particular Connell’s analysis shows that the difficulty that arises from trying to represent the offshore leads these texts to open up new perspectives on global capitalism by focussing upon its differential relationships to the state.

Full text (PDF, 810KB)DOI: 10.5456/issn.5050-3679/2013s07lc

Biographical note
Liam Connell lectures in English at the University of Winchester. His research interests include contemporary literature and globalisation, and cultural representations of illegal migration. He is currently collaborating on a larger research project on the offshore in relation to finance, labour and the law.