Exploring honour killings through literature : an investigation of motivations for honour killings

Saltik, Berivan and Moore, Lindsey (2016) Exploring honour killings through literature : an investigation of motivations for honour killings. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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This thesis argues that the complex attributes of honour killings delineated in literary works can guide us to have a better understanding of honour killings as a social phenomenon. Literature vividly conceptualises the complex web of relations between individual and society while narrating actions in their social context. As literature narrates social group and individual behaviours from multiple points-of-view, it is an important tool in terms of understanding the dynamics of honour killings. The research I undertake is significant, indeed urgent, as it offers insight into a problem which ends thousands of lives annually. Each chapter examines a literary text which foregrounds a key factor to do with the motivation for honour killings. In Chapter One, I analyse specific cultural constructions of purity in Turkish author Zülfü Livaneli’s Turkish-set novel Mutluluk (2002)/Bliss (2007), in order to show how purity is championed and impurity is regarded as dishonour in the context of honour killings. In Chapter Two, I analyse the tension between individual and collectivist identity in British- Jordanian author Fadia Faqir’s Levant/British-set novel. My name is Salma (2007), to illustrate how individualistic choices challenge collective identity and honour. In Chapter Three, I focus on diasporic identity in British Pakistani author Nadeem Aslam’s British-set novel Maps for Lost Lovers (2004), demonstrating how cultural alienation and the threat of losing identity in a diasporic community can contribute to honour killings. In Chapter Four, I address the construction of masculinity in Turkish author Elif Shafak’s British-set novel Honour (2012), examining ways in which victimhood and culpability are linked when honour killing is used as a way of proving masculinity. In Chapter Five, I provide further and more synoptic analysis of the four novels dealt with in the previous chapters. Edward Said’s method of humanist criticism provides me with an overarching approach to the texts. Said attributes a worldly quality to literary texts and acknowledges them in their relation to historical, political, social, and cultural human experience. Influenced by his insights, I analyse honour concepts as represented in literary texts in relation to surrounding social, political, legal, economic and cultural discourses on honour killings. In so doing, I provide an original investigation of how literary works challenge and/or reinforce notions of honour and honour killings and how these works, at the same time, illuminate and challenge our knowledge of the phenomenon of honour killings.

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Thesis (PhD)
?? honour killing literatureviolencewomenedward saidhumanism and democratic criticism ??
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01 Dec 2016 09:36
Last Modified:
30 Nov 2023 01:15