chapter  5
12 Pages

Globalization’s Robinsonade: Cast Away and neo-liberal subject formation


The title of this collection, Rerouting the Postcolonial, calls for a redirection or reconsideration of existing postcolonial critical approaches in order to respond to the changed conditions of an increasingly globalized world. Acknowledging such a call, I wish to argue that an adequate critical response to capitalist globalization would have to analyse not only its magnitude, scale and planetary implications, but also its relation to the more intimate domain of ‘soul-making’, as Gayatri Spivak once dubbed it. Any attempt at constructing a postcolonial counterdiscourse to the neo-liberal ideology that drives globalization must try to understand how globalization has affected subject formation. How is the ‘big picture’ of globalization, the subject of much public attention, related to the private, individual subject at the other end of the scale? How can we, as David Harvey has urged, link the ‘macro’ discourse of globalization to the ‘micro’ discourse of the corporeal self? (2000: 1). Following Harvey’s lead, I suggest that we can find in a popular Hollywood film a clear illustration of how the self is shaped by the ubiquitous neo-liberal ideology of globalization.