Narrative as Soft Violence in Margaret Drabble’s The Pure Gold Baby
This article deals with Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of “symbolic” or “soft” violencein Margaret Drabble’s latest novel, The Pure Gold Baby (2013). The novel is about a young anthropologist student, who becomes pregnant whilst in a relationship with her married professor. Her promising academic career and dreams of being a field anthropologist and of returning to Africa are put to one side and she becomes a desk-bound anthropologist in north London while caring for her daughter, the “pure gold baby” of the title, who suffers from serious developmental problems. The article reflects the importance of the ambiguity of narration in the novel in which soft violence is practiced by the author, the narrator, the protagonist, the educational and religious institutions, as well as through the class structure. It shows a complex and interrelated thematic and theoretical strands, discussing the novelist as anthropologist, narration as controlling authorial act, the shift from victimhood to perpetration of violence in the exploration of gender, education and sexuality.It explores the soft violence of racism and colonial exploitation and domination.
Bhabha, homi k. (1994).the location of culture.london, england: routledge.
Bernard, april (2014february 6). Margaret drabble: in defiance of time. The new york review of books.retrieved from http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2014/feb/06/margaretdrabble-defiance-time/
Book review. (2013, november 10). The pure gold baby, by margaret drabble.the independent.retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/artsentertainment/
Bourdieu, pierre, passeron, jean-claude & martin, monique de saint (1994).academic discourse: linguistic misunderstanding and professional power (richard teese, trans.). Cambridge: polity press.
Bourdieu, pierre (1996a).distinction: a social critique of the judgement of taste (richard nice, trans.). Harvard: harvard university press.
………………..&eagleton, terry (1992).doxa and common life.new left review.191, 111-121. Retrieved from http://newleftreview.org/i/191/terry-eagleton-pierre-bourdieu-doxa-andcommon-life
………………(1991).language and symbolic power (gino raymond and matthew adamson, trans.).oxford: polity press.
………………..(2001). Masculine domination (richard nice, trans.).stanford, california: stanford university press.
……………….. (1998). Practical reason: on the theory of action. Stanford, california: stanford university press.
………………..& jean-claude passeron (1977, rep. 1990).reproduction in education, society and culture (richard nice, trans.).london, england: sage.
………………..(1993). Sociology in question(richard nice, trans.).london england: sage.
………………..(1962).the algerians (alan c. M. Ross, trans.). Toronto: beacon press.
……………….. (1986). The forms of capital. In john g. Richardson (ed.), handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241-258). New york, ny: greenwood press.
……………….. (1990).the logic of practice(richard nice, trans.). Cambridge: polity press.
……………….. (1996b).the state nobility: elite schools in the field of power (lauretta c. Clough, trans.). Oxford: polity press.
Bromberg, pamela s. (1990, autumn). Margaret drabble'sthe radiant way: feminist metafiction. Novel: a forum on fiction.24 (1), 5-25. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1345722
Creighton, joanne v. (1982). An interview with margaret drabble. In dorey schmidt (ed.), margaret drabble: golden realms(pp. 18-32). Edinburg, tx: pan american univ.
David livingstone’s life.livingstone online.retrieved from http://www.livingstoneonline.ucl.ac.uk/biog/dl/bio.html.
Day, elizabeth (2013, november 16).the pure gold baby by margaret drabble.the observer.retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/16/pure-gold-babymargaret-drabble-review.
Donaldson, emily (2014, january 01). The pure gold baby by margaret drabble.retrieved from http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/2014/01/01/the_pure_gold_baby_by_margaret_drabble_review.html
Drabble, margaret (2013a, november 4). In our head we switch tenses all the time.metro. Retrieved from http://metro.co.uk/2013/11/04/margaret-drabble-in-our-head-we-switchtenses-all-the-time-4170280/
…………………(2013b, november 7). Margaret drabbleintroduces her new novel, the pure gold baby[video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ex3cjevjo58.
………………… (2011, march 19).the millstone.the guardian.retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/books/2011/mar/19/book-club-margaret-drabble-millstone
………………… (2013c).the pure gold baby. Edinburgh, england: canongate.
Duran, jane (2007).women, philosophy and literature.aldershot: ashgate publishing company.
Dutton, edward. The philosophy of anthropology.internet encyclopaedia of philosophyiep.retrieved from http://www.iep.utm.edu/anthropo/
Eysenck, h. J. (1982). Epilogue: is intelligence?. In h. J. Eysenck (ed.),a model for intelligence (pp.255-259).new york, ny: springer berlin heidelberg.
Fanon, frantz (2001). The wretched of the earth. Invincent b. Leitch (ed.)the norton anthology of theory and criticism (pp. 1578-1587). New york, ny: w. W. Norton & company.
Foucault, michel (1998). Aesthetics, method, and epistemology:essential works 1954-1984vol.2(robert hurley and others, trans.). New york, ny: the new press.
Geertz, clifford (1973). The interpretation of cultures: selected essays. New york, ny: basic books.
Go, julian(2013). Decolonizing bourdieu: colonial and postcolonial theory in pierre bourdieu’s early work, sociological theory.american sociological association,31 (1), 49 –74. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/2075351/decolonizing_bourdieu_colonial_and_postcolonial_theory_in_pierre_bourdieus_early_work
Goring, rosemary (2013, november 24). Margaret drabble: the pure gold baby.heraldscotland.retrieved from http://www.heraldscotland.com/bookspoetry/review/margaretdrabble-the-pure-gold-baby-canongate.22735547
Goudie, jeffrey ann ( 2013, november 03). The pure gold baby goes deep and wide.missoulian.com. Retrieved from http://missoulian.com/entertainment/books-and-literature/the-pure-gold-babygoes-deep-and-wide/article_e8d4fa58-431c-11e3-b1d9-0019bb2963f4.html
Hannay, john (1985, june 20 and 25). Margaret drabble: an interview. Twentieth century literature.33 (2), 129-149. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/441312
Heller, zoë (2003).notes on a scandal. London, england: penguin.
Hill, lisa (2013, december 8). The pure gold baby by margaret drabble.anz litlovers_litblog. Retrieved from http://anzlitlovers.com/2013/12/08/the-pure-gold-baby-by-margaret-drabble/
Hirt, elizabeth (2013). Language in the silent space: virginia woolf's to the lighthouse.the oswald review.7 (1), article 5, 61-71. Retrieved from
Irigaray, luce (1985).this sex which is not one (catherine porter with carolyn burke, trans.). New york, ny: cornell university press.
Kirksey, eben (fall 2002). Anthropology and colonial violence in west papua.melanesia: the future of tradition.26 (3). Retrieved from http://www.culturalsurvival.org/ourpublications/csq/article/anthropology-and-colonialviolence-west-papua
Langan, michael d. (2013, november 3). Drabble’spure gold baby addresses motherhood with complications.news book reviewer. Retrieved from http://www.buffalonews.com/life-arts/bookreviews/drabbles-pure-gold-baby-addresses-motherhood-with-complications-20131101
Leach, diane (2013, november 12).the pure gold baby: tells of the children who smile at everyone and everything.popmatters. Retrieved from
Leeming, glenda (2006).margaret drabble.tavistock: northcote. British council.
Lin, lidan (2005). Spatial narrative and postfeminist fiction: margaret drabble’sthe radiant way. English studies.86 (1), 51-70. Retrieved from http://opus.ipfw.edu/english_facpubs/250
Lizardo, omar (2010). Pierre bourdieu as a post-cultural theorist’, cultural sociology, 5(1), 1–22. Retrieved fromhttps://www3.nd.edu/~olizardo/papers/cs-bourdieu.pdf
Massie, allan (2013, november 9). Book review:the pure gold baby by margaret drabble.the scotsman.retrieved from http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/books/book-review-the-pure-goldbaby-by-margaret-drabble-1-3181709.
Mcclellan, ann k. (2012).how british women writers transformed the campus novel: virginia woolf, dorothy l. Sayers, margaret drabble, anita brookner, jeanette winterson. New york, ny:edwin mellen press.
Mcleod, julie (2005, march 30). Feminists rereading bourdieu: old debates and new questions about gender habitus and gender change’, theory and research in education.retrieved from http://www.sagepublications.com
Moi, toril (1991 autumn).appropriating bourdieu: feminist theory and pierre bourdieu’s sociology of culture.new literary history.22 (4), 1017-1049. Retrieved from
Muston, samuel (2010, september 18). My secret life: margaret drabble, author, 71. The independent. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/my-secretlife-margaret-drabble-author-71-2080156.html
Navarro, zander (2006). In search of cultural interpretation of power.ids bulletin37(6), 11-22.doi: 10.1111/j.1759-5436.2006.tb00319.x
Nye, jr., joseph s. (2004).soft power: means to success in world politics. New york, ny: public affairs.
Ornelas, mariana. Women and carpet weaving in turkey.turkish culture portal. Retrieved fromhttp://www.turkishculture.org/tapestry/anatolian-carpets/carpet-weaving-tradition-600.htm
Pels, peter (1997, october). The anthropology of colonialism: culture, history, and the emergence of western governmentality.annaual review of anthropology.26, 163-
Peters, gabriel (2011).the social as heaven and hell: pierre bourdieu's philosophical anthropology.journal for the theory of social behaviour42 (1), 0021-8308. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/365090/the_social_as_heaven_and_hell_pierre_bourdieus_philosophical_anthropology
Peyre, claudine (2011). Three interviews with margaret drabble.cercles21, 112-130. Retrieved from http://www.cercles.com/n21/peyre.pdf
Ponzanesi, sandra (2005a). Beyond the black venus: colonial sexual politics and contemporary visual practices. Injacqueline andall and derek duncan (eds.), italian colonialism: legacies and memories (pp.165-189). Oxford: peter lang press.
………………..(2005b). Outlandish cinema.screening the other in italy. In sandra ponzanesi and daniela merolla (eds.), migrant cartographies: new cultural and literary spaces in postcolonial europe(pp. 267-280). Lanham, md.: lexingtonbooks.
Rayson, ann (1978, summar).motherhood in the novels of margaret drabble’, frontiers: a journal of women studies, 3 (2), 43-46. Mothers and daughters.retrieved
Reed-danahay, deborah (2005).locating bourdieu.indiana university press.
Rose, ellen cronan (spring, 1988). The sexual politics of narration: margaret drabble’s feminist fiction.studies in the novel.20 (1), 86-99. Retrieved from
Said, edward (winter, 1989). Representing the colonized: anthropology's interlocutors.critical inquiry.15:2, 205-225. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1343582
Schubert, j. Daniel (2008).suffering/symbolic violence.inmichael grenfell (ed.),pierre bourdieu: key concepts(pp. 183-198). Stocksfield, uk: acumen.
Showalter, elaine (1978).a literature of their own: british novelists from bronte to lessing. London, england: virago.
Skeggs, beverley (1997).formations of class and gender.london, england: sage publications.
Sönmez, yağmur(nov. 2012). The “morally ideal woman” in middlemarch.academia.edu.çankaya university journal of humanities and social sciences. 9(2), 295–309. Retrieved from http://www.academia.edu/1372693/the_morally_ideal_woman_in_middlemarch
Stead, margaret (2003, june 1). See me after class: black comedy and tragedy mingle in zoë heller's tale.the guardian.the observer. Retrieved from
Stokes, emily (2013, october 7).six questions: the pure gold baby’, the stream. Retrieved from
Stoler, ann laura (2002).carnal knowledge and imperial power: race and the intimate in colonial rule.university of california press.
Sullivan, alice (2002). Bourdieu and education: how useful is bourdieu’s theory for researchers?.the netherlands’ journal of social sciences.38 (2), 144-166. Retrieved from http://www.cls.ioe.ac.uk/librarymedia%5cdocumentsbourdieu netherlandsjournal.pdf
Tabb, emily. Outline and assess bourdieu’s explanation of social inequality. Retrieved from
Thorpe, holly (2009). Bourdieu, feminism and female physical culture: gender reflexivity and the habitus-field complex.sociology of sport journal.26, 491-516. Retrieved from http://researchcommons.waikato.ac.nz/bitstream/handle/10289/3681/bourdieu, feminism.pdf?sequence=1
Wolitzer, meg (2013, october 02).margaret drabble spins a mother-daughter yarn into “gold”.npr books. Retrieved from
Yagoda, ben (2004).the sound on the page: great writers talk about style and voice in writing. New york, ny: harpercollins publisher.
Zizek, slavoj (2000). Class struggle or postmodernism? Yes, please! In contingency, hegemony,universality contemporary dialogues on the left by judith butler, ernesto laclau and slavojzizek,(pp. 90-135). London, england: versto.
………………… (2014, march 3). The poetic torture-house of language: how poetry relates to ethnic cleansing.poetry magazine. Retrieved from
…………………(2008).violence: six sideways reflections.new york, ny: picador.
Revised Copyright/CC license that applies to all the articles published after 05-02-2017
Copyright/CC license that applies to all the articles published before 05-02-2017
Author(s) will retain all the right except commercial and re-publishing rights. In the case of re-publishing, they will have to obtain written permission from the journal. Additional licensing agreements (Creative Commons licenses) grants rights to readers to copy, distribute, display and perform the work as long as you give the original author(s) credit, they can not use the works for commercial purposes and are not allowed to alter, transform, or build upon the work. For any reuse or distribution, readers and users must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holders. Nothing in this license impairs or restricts the authors’ rights. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/ or send a letter to Creative Commons, 171 Second Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, California, 94105, USA.
Research Papers published in SOCRATES are licensed under an Attribution -NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)