Reviewing Indian Children Born In America Cultural Studies Essay


Born to Indian parents and brought up in America, Jhumpa Lahiri has been able to prove herself as a successfully distinctive new voice in reflecting the dilemmas of the cultural spaces with a master's insight. Her writing is characterized by her plain language and her characters who must struggle between the cultural values of their birthplace and their adopted home. Her style of plain writing and the way she illuminates human nature recalls great American writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Raymond Carver. Lahiri's fiction is autobiographical and frequently mirrors her own experiences as well as those of her parents, friends, acquaintances and others in Bengali communities which she is familiar with. She pictures struggles, anxieties, and biases to record the details of immigrant psychology and behavior. Her short stories are notable for their restraint, their economical character portraits, and for quiet deep insights into people's thoughts and actions.

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Nilanja Sudeshna Lahiri was born in London, England in 1967. She is the daughter of Bengali Indian immigrants and her family moved to the United States when she was three. She was raised in South Kingstown, Rhode Island where her father- Amar- worked as a librarian at the University of Rhode Island and her mother- Tapati- as a teacher. Growing up in America under the supervision of a mother who wanted to raise her children to be Indian, it is no surprise that she puts a great emphasis on the stories of Indian immigrants to America searching for a sense of belonging. Lahiri's mother wanted her children to grow up knowing of their Bengali heritage.

Her family often visited relatives in Calcutta, India. The influence of frequent childhood visits to India and parents, who were still a part of the Indian world despite their immigration to America, shaped her works. Her varied experiences in Calcutta enabled Lahiri to form closer ties with India and its rich cultural heritage while simultaneously coping with the cultural complexities of everyday American life. This exposure to both Indian and American cultures is what assisted her to thread through cross-cultural currents with undeniable ease.

When she began kindergarten in Kingstown, Lahiri's teachers decided to call her by her nickname, Jhumpa, because it was easier to pronounce and remember. Lahiri recalls the experience:"I always felt so embarrassed by my name…You feel like you're causing someone pain just by being who you are." [1] Lahiri's feeling about her name was the inspiration for the uncertainties of Gogol, the protagonist of "The Namesake", over his unusual name. As a child she wrote extensive 'novels' in notebooks, sometimes in collaboration with friends. She wrote for her school newspaper, but stopped writing fiction by the time she went to college. She believed that an academic career was more her future than a creative writing one.

Lahiri graduated from South Kingstown High School, and received a B.A in English literature at Barnard College. After graduating from Barnard College, Lahiri continued at Boston University, where she received multiple degrees: an M.A in English, an M.A in Creative Writing, an M.A in Comparative Studies in Literature and Arts, and a PH.D in Renaissance studies. Following the PH.D program, she took up a fellowship at Provincetown's Fine Arts Work Center, which lasted for the next two years (1997-1998).

During completion of her doctorate thesis in 1997, she worked for Boston magazine as an intern. Furthermore, throughout her six years at Boston University, Lahiri worked on short stories, nine of which were collected in her debut book, "Interpreter of Maladies"(1999). It consists of three stories previously published in the New Yorker, plus six unpublished works. The book began to receive awards almost immediately after its publication. Among the first ones received in 1999 was the PEN / Hemingway award for the best fiction debut of the year.

The title story, 'Interpreter of Maladies' was chosen for the O'Henry Award for best American short stories. Lahiri was also a recipient of Transatlantic Review award from Henfield Foundation and the fiction prize from Louisville Review. It also received the New Yorker Debut of the Year Award, an Academy of Arts and Letters Addison Metcalf Award, and a nomination for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. The New Yorker has published three of her stories and named her as one of the twenty best writers under the age of forty. The greatest tribute to her talent thus far has been the award for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction. She is the first Indian woman to receive this award. The book was translated into twenty-nine languages and became a bestseller both in the United States and abroad.

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The common thread throughout the stories in this collection is a sort of malady the characters suffer from. All the characters are defined by isolation of some form or another: husbands are isolated from wives, immigrants are isolated from their families and their homes, children are isolated from their parents, and people are isolated from the communities in which they live. In their isolation, these characters feel that they are missing something vital to their identities. It is this missing "something" that defines them.

The personal life of Lahiri is the very prototype of diasporic culture. Being asked about identity, she once stated in an interview that:

The question of identity is always a difficult one, but especially so far for those who are culturally displaced, as immigrants are, or those who grow up in two worlds simultaneously, as is the case of their children. The older I get, the more aware am I that I have somehow inherited a sense of exile from my parents, even though in many ways I am more American than they are. In fact it is still very hard for myself to think as American. For immigrants the challenges of exile, the loneliness, the constant sense of alienation, the knowledge and longing for a lost world, are more explicit and distressing for their children. On the other hand the problem for children of immigrants, those with strong ties to their country of origin, is that they feel neither one thing nor the other. The feeling that there was no place where I fully belong bothered me growing up. [2] 

In January of 2001, Lahiri married the deputy editor of Time Latin America, Alberto Vourvoulis-Bush. Lahiri arranged a traditional Bengali wedding in the Singhi Palace in Calcutta, a place where she has never considered a foreign city because she had been constantly visited there since she was two years old. The details of such a magnificent ceremony are portrayed artistically in Gogol's wedding party in "The Namesake". Vourvoulias is now executive editor of El Diario/La Prenda, New York's largest Spanish daily and America's fastest growing newspaper and the father of her two children.

Lahiri's first novel "The Namesake" was published in fall of 2003 to great acclaim. The book illuminates her signature themes: the immigrant experience, the clash of cultures and the tangled ties between generations. The narrative spans more than thirty years of a family, the Gangulis, telling the story of the Calcutta-born parents immigrated to the United States, and their children, Gogol and Sonia, who constantly experience generational and cultural gap between their parents and them. The novel spent several weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. It was a New York Times Notable book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, and was selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly among other publications. A film adaptation of the "The Namesake" was released in March 2007, directed by Miras Nair and starring Kall Pen as Gogol.

Lahiri addresses the importance of names, collision of cultures, the conflicts of assimilation, the search for identity and perplexities of the immigrant experience in "The Namesake" to demonstrate how much a struggle immigration can be. "The Namesake" deals with identity and the effect the immigrant experience has on the family ties. As the Ganguli parents struggle to adapt to a different culture than they are used to, their children, Gogol and Sonia, struggle to respect their roots while adapting to American society. Lahiri regards the distinction between pet name / good name as a perfect metaphor for the experience of growing up as the child of immigrants, having a divided identity. Lahiri's young protagonist feels incomplete, and this feeling adds to his confusion and insecurity as an outsider trapped between two cultures: that of India, his parents' homeland and that of the United States, his country of birth.

The book brings to light the conflicting selves of Indian-American migrants who are burdened with a fragmented sense of identity; constantly pulled in opposite directions toward either side of their dualistic cultural identity. To escape such a cultural limbo, they try to fit the scattered pieces of their selves together in any way possible so as to create a strong sense of identity. It is a human adaptation, the one that comes from knowing ones cultural identity among the always shifting lines between gender, sexuality, and social status within a diaspora.."The Namesake"'s major strength is that it demystifies cultural identity issues of those who find themselves at odds with the majority in the intercultural contexts.

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Her second collection of short stories, "Unaccustomed Earth", was released on April 1, 2008. These new stories reveal a clear progression of her literary power from her first collection "Interpreter of Maladies". As succeeding generations become increasingly assimilated into Western culture and are comfortable in constructing global perspectives, Lahiri's fiction shifts to the needs of individual. The collection finds her at the rising pick of her literary powers, narrating the stories of people in some sort of transition, negotiating the intersections of cultural, ethnic, gender, religious or generational differences with greater or lesser success. Infused with eloquent warmth and lyrical simplicity, "Unaccustomed Earth" explores the timeless, placeless and universal aspects of the immigrant experience, taking the reader from America to Europe, India and Thailand through the recurring theme of disturbed communication. It achieved the first place on The New York Times best seller list. The book also achieved Frank O'Conner International Short Story Award 2008.

In addition to her short story collections" Interpreter of Maladies"(1999) and "Unaccustomed Earth" (2008), and her novel "The Namesake" (2003), Lahiri also published some short stories in The New Yorker: "Nobody's Business"(11 March 2001), "Hell-Heaven"(24 May 2004), "Once In A Lifetime"(1 May 2006), and "Year's End"(24 December 2007). "Nobody's Business" was also published in "The Best American Short Stories 2002". Lahiri was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002 and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 2006. Since 2005, she has been a Vice President of the Pen American Center, an organization designed to promote friendship and intellectual cooperation among writers. Jhumpa Lahiri now lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two children, Octavio (b.2002) and Noor (b. 2005). [3] 

2. Argument

The purpose of this study is to examine identity as an always in process production of becoming in Jhumpa Lahiri's novel "The Namesake" through Stuart Hall's theories of cultural identity, specially his articulation theory. The research reflects the ways that migration affects identity and explores the plurality of fluid identities as shown in the creative moments of characters' lives by emphasizing Hall's concerns in rejecting pure cultural origins. The study also tries to discover different aspects of Hall's notion of cultural identity as a source of restoring the decentered subject and active role of people in constructing identities, as agents and subjects of many possible futures. It also explores the notion of name as a floating signifier throughout the novel by emphasizing the importance of naming and renaming in Gogol-the novel's protagonist- 's search for identity.

Immigration is a multidimensional and highly complex worldwide phenomenon that has been the twin of man's fate since the daybreak of human history. Immigration is far more complicated than displacement and going from one place to another one. It produces complex interactions among individuals from all around the world, including the exchanges of ideas, values and costumes. Immigrants face multiple challenges in social, political, economic and religious issues. Consequently, immigration involves identity crisis, changes in values and behaviors, as well as the need to adapt to new social relationships. The consequences of immigration and particularly its impact on individuals identity brings about various reflections among diaspora communities and especially diaspora artists. These reflections and echoes are best represented in literature. For last few years an increasing number of diaspora writers are writing about their diasporic experiences and the heart of diaspora matter which is the issue of identity.

The processes of forced or free migration which have become a global phenomenon of post-colonial world make questions of identity a major concern of Cultural Studies. Immigrants generally arrive in a new country with a strong sense of their homeland culture and with various degrees of willingness to adopt a new identity. The process of identification with the new society involves feelings of belonging to a homeland and adaptation to a host country. As a matter of fact, on arriving the immigrant goes into a sudden shift of identity and finds himself in an unidentified circumstance. When individual's identity which was assumed to be fixed, coherent and stable is displaced by the experience of doubt and uncertainty, namely when it is in crisis, it becomes an important issue of academic debates.

The question of identity lies at the center of debates in Cultural Studies because those identities which defined the social and cultural world of modern societies for so long - distinctive identities of gender, sexuality, race, class and nationality - are in decline through global cultural changes, giving rise to new forms of identification and fragmenting the modern individual as a unified subject. The traditional understandings of identity, the comfortable assumptions about its coherence and integrity, have been problematised by post-structuralism perspective which constitutes the dominant strand of thought about identity in Cultural Studies. The key idea at the heart of these theoretical debates is that, as Hall puts it, identity is always unstable, fragmented and contingent, because it is not a hidden essence to be uncovered, but an active process of discursive construction.

Like most of the contemporary diaspora characters, the characters of Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake" have fluid identities. They are wandering from one culture to the other, so their national and cultural identities are not fixed anymore. They experience the shock of doubleness of similarity and difference and go through an ever changing process of repositioning in the non-Indian diaspora. Through a reading of the text based on Hall's approach to cultural identity, the book takes into consideration the variability, contingency, plurality and heterogeneity of identities by exploring the life stories of the first and second generation Asian-American migrants and their search for forms and positions by which they recognize and constitute themselves. It reflects how immigration is articulated in different and sometimes unpredictable ways of identity formation.

Another major aspect of the novel through Stuart Hall's cultural theories is the notion of subjectivity. Hall regards subject as a subject-in-process not an already constituted subject. Lahiri's novel examines how people actually construct their sense of self in real social relationships in the context of competing forces and interests. Throughout the book, there is always an emphasis on the active role that characters play in constructing their identities as a free-floating and arbitrary process, the one which is not determined by socioeconomic forces, but creatively put together. Articulation theory describes how people make identities which are not previously determined.

"The Namesake" is also a narrative of names. Lahiri deals elaborately with the Bengali custom of giving two names to a child which can be read as a metaphor to emphasize the multicipility of identities and their constructedness like signifiers in language. Name, just as identity, is an empty sign and a relational concept outside the signifying field and its meaning changes within the context. Examining the notion of name in the novel based on Hall's perspective offers an insight into the ways the logic of articulation works as a process of creating connections and combination of relations between fragments and contradictions as well as similarities in the constitution of identity.

In this context, this research is expected to examine cultural identity as a floating signifier which is articulated as a set of positioning in Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Namesake". It illuminates the complexity of diasporic experience through the characters of the novel and the manifestation of identity creation as an active and fluid process of becoming. Regarding Lahiri's "The Namesake" as a diasporic novel possessing characteristics of Hall's cultural theories for reading of the text, the study focuses on Hall's non-essentialist analysis of cultural identity as well as his notion of subject-in-process for decoding the process of identity construction in Lahiri's novel.

The research also tries to examine Lahiri's concept of name, using Hall's discursive approach to indicate multiple connotations of a single name as a discursive construct which its meaning is not the same outside the signifying field. The study tries to offer insight into how cultural studies can be used to understand the way culture works in the context of our everyday life through focusing on the unique process of identity formation for each character in the novel. Overall, having all the above-mentioned points in mind, the research makes an attempt to answer the following questions:

1. How does Lahiri represent identity as a process of becoming?

2. What is Lahiri's attitude towards the concept of subjectivity?

3. What is the significance of having two names in "The Namesake"?

4. In what ways are name and cultural identity connected to one another?

5. How does Gogol's new name affect his identity construction process?

6. What is Lahiri's treatment of the recognition of difference in emerging subjects?

7. How does Moushumi represent the diversity of subjective positions?

8. How does articulation theory depict Lahiri's attitude towards identity formation?

3. Approach and Methodology

Cultural Studies is an academic field which combines political economy, communication, sociology, social theory, literary theory, media theory, film studies, cultural anthropology, philosophy, art history and criticism to study cultural phenomena in various societies. Cultural Studies researchers often concentrate on how a particular phenomenon relates to matters of ideology, nationality, ethnicity, social class and gender. The term was coined by Richard Hoggart in 1964 when he founded the Birmingham Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies or CCCS. It has since become strongly associated with Stuart Hall, who succeeded Hoggart as Director.

From the 1970 onward, Stuart Hall's pioneering work, along with his colleagues, created an international intellectual movement. The group devoted their attention to postwar shifts in the lives of working-class Britons confronted with the changes of modernization, as well as with the disintegration of traditional familial roles and social practices. Some Cultural Studies researchers applied a Marxist model to the field. They had some influence from Frankfurt School, but especially from the structuralist Marxism of Louis Althusser. Cultural Studies development is characterized by its intersection with a variety of disciplines and approaches of literary criticism, from deconstruction, Lacanian psychoanalysis, Feminism, Althusserean Marxism, Gramscian theories of hegemony, and Hermeneutics to gender studies and environmental criticism (Conditions 21).

Stuart Hall is a Jamaican cultural theorist who has lived and worked in the United Kingdom since 1951. Hall was an early influential contributor to the school of thought that is known as The Birmingham School of Cultural Studies. He tried to bring the study of popular culture into the understanding of political and social change, by centering on hegemony and ideology and applying Marxist concepts to everything from mass media to politics. However, for Marx economics determines cultural production, but Hall, along with other 'New Left' intellectuals, argues that cultural production also determines the social and economic climate. Being the founding editor of the New Left Review, Hall did much to open a debate about immigration and expanded the scope of Cultural Studies to deal with the issues of identity, race and gender, and incorporated new ideas derived from the work of French poststructuralist theorists.

Hall argues that Hoggart and Williams' culturalism was flawed in its emphasis on the determining role of human experience, classical Marxism was flawed in its emphasis on the determining role of the economy, and Althusserean Marxism was flawed in its emphasis on the determining role of language and ideology. Hall regards language as operating within a framework of power, institutions, politics and economics, but he extends structuralist logic and recaptures culturalism's privileging of agency to move beyond Althusser (Cultural Studies and the Center 38).

He remains convinced that meaning and experience are constructed through signifying practices, while refusing to accept that experience is nothing but the sum total of the governing structure of language (Signification 102). This view presents people as producers and consumers of the culture at the same time. For him culture is not something to simply appreciate, or study; it is also a critical site of social action, where power relations are both established and potentially unsettled. He regards culture as an incomplete, contingent process over which we must struggle, rather than a static object we can simply describe. Hall rejected Marx's reductive notion of culture as a passive, secondary, reflection in order to stress its active, primary, constitutive role in society (A Sense 29).

Since the 1980s Hall has turned toward Gramsci and the emphasis he places on hegemony as a site of struggle. Gramscian hegemony came to provide a warrant for moving away from the Althusserean-inspired view that ideology is an implacable force for asserting meanings to subordinate groups by the inevitable ideological positioning of the individual by the apparatus of the State and its agencies like the school or family. Hall's reading of Gramscian hegemony helped the Center to make notions of agency away from the impasse of stucturalist Marxism. According to Gramsci's notion, cultural practices and communication texts can be viewed as a battleground in a struggle between different groups to define, maintain and contain meaning. The highly important consequence of this notion for Hall and British Cultural Studies is the possibility it provides for viewing the outcomes of power struggle between groups as fluid, ongoing, and never predetermined and also for examining the effects of ideology concretely as they are manifested in living texts (On Ideology 33).

Hall is one of the main proponents of reception theory. This approach to textual analysis focuses on the scope for 'negotiation' and 'opposition' on part of the audience. This means that a text is not simply passively accepted by the audience, but the meaning depends on the cultural background of the audience. In 'Encoding/Decoding', he uses Marxist structuralism in order to argue that media discourse is an overdetermined site at which meaning is not present but is socially produced at the moments of production, circulation and consumption. Although Hall parts from Althusser in emphasizing the diversity of response to media texts, he adopts an Althusserean notion of 'over-determination' -implying a number of linked or articulated determinations- and suggests encoding and decoding are over-determined moments. Hall believes that even though the producer encodes the text in a particular way, the reader will decode it in a different manner linked to his ideological and cultural constructions (14).

Hall's reception theory addresses theoretically the issue of how people make sense of media texts. He argues that the dominant ideology is typically inscribed as the 'preferred reading' in a media text, but this is not automatically adopted by readers. The 'social situations' of readers/viewers/listeners may lead them to adopt different interpretations. 'Dominant' readings are produced by those whose social situation favors the preferred reading; 'negotiated' readings are produced by those who inflect the preferred reading to take account of their social position; and 'oppositional' readings are produced by those whose special position puts them into direct conflict with the preferred reading (Encoding 7).

Hall has widely discussed notions of cultural identity, race and ethnicity particularly in the creation of the politics of diasporic identities. In 'Cultural Identity and Diaspora' Hall writes about two different ways of thinking about cultural identity. The first position defines cultural identity as being and with stable, unchanging, and continuous frames of reference and meaning. The second one defines cultural identity as a process of becoming, "not a fixed essence lying unchanged outside history and culture", "but a positioning" (396). Hall uses Jacque Derrida's theory of 'difference' as support, and sees the temporary positioning of identity as strategic and arbitrary. He asserts that cultural identities, far from being eternally fixed in essentialised past, are subject to the continuous 'play' of history, culture and power (399).

However, in contrast with the endlessly floating signifiers of the postmodernists, this process of becoming always takes place in relations of power, in relation to institutions, apparatuses, and disciplines that position the self in structured ways, in relations of inclusion/exclusion. But above all, Hall argues, identities are constructed through difference. "This entails", as he puts it, "the radically disturbing recognition that it is only through relation to the Other, the relation to what it is not, to precisely what it lacks, to what has been called its constitutive outside that the positive meaning of any term -and thus its identity- can be constructed" (Representation 121).

Hall foregrounds the constructedness, positionality and contextuality of identities and stresses that they are culturally and historically constructed positions rather than fixed or natural essences. His essay 'The Meaning of New Times' defines identity as a process where subjectivities are formed in the spaces between binaries of us/them, black/white, or native/foreigner (116). He argues that simply reversing the binaries does not suffice."Its complexity exceeds this binary structure of representation. At different places, times, in relation to different questions, the boundaries are re-sited" (129). He suggests that the only way to reexamine this stereotyping is to deconstruct it from within, that is, highlighting the internal differences and contingent positions, and reinventing the subject in new ways.

Against the old view of identity as "a stable core of the self", Hall urges to think of identity as an open-ended process of identification. In this sense, identity is not a fixed and permanent entity existing continuously through time but an always unfinished suturing together of fragments. According to Hall, identity is never a neat singular whole, but always plural, always fluid, more 'bothland' than either/or, and therefore there is no authentic core, no stable point of origin that will guarantee the rightness or wrongness of any decision (The Question 287).

In 'Introduction: who needs "identity"?' Hall writes about the need for discussing identity as identification and identification as a process of articulation, a suturing. He defines identity as never unified, and, increasingly fragmented and fractured process which is constructed through difference and in relation to Other. He believes that identity is produced in specific discursive formations and practices by "specific enunciative strategies" (14). Hall also defines identity as a meeting point between the discourses and practices which attempt to interpellate the individual as the social subject of particular discourses on the one hand, and the process which produces subjectivities - the process that construct us as subjects which can be spoken- on the other hand. Identities are thus temporary attachment to the subject positions which discursive practices construct for us (17).

The notion that an effective suturing of the subject to a subject-position requires, not only that the subject is hailed, but that the subject invests in the position, means that suturing has to be thought of as an articulation, rather than a one-sided process. As a matter of fact, Hall redefines the subject through replacing interpellation by articulation. Whereas Althusserean interpellation is a concept that describes how ideology works by making subjects feel they are free to choose while actually choosing on their behalf, articulation refers to reproducing of the subject in new ways. Consequently, the articulation of the subject through occupying subject positions means to detach the subject from its fixed inscriptions and to produce the subject again. Hall calls this "the rearticulating of the relationship between subject and discursive practice" (Questions 142). Doing so places emphasis on what Hall terms "creative and historical agency'- the power of the people to express and determine their own feelings and actions.

Hall has referred to Russian Marxist linguist Valentine Volosinov's "Marxism and the Philosophy of Language" as a key text in the development of the CCCS's thinking on ideology and culture (Notes 236). Multi-accentuality is used by Volosinov to refer to the way in which language produces different, even opposing meanings depending on how it is 'accented' by those who 'speak' it within a given social concept. It suggests that meaning and value are not inscribed within language but constantly being reproduced as signs are articulated, dis-articulated, and re-accented by different social groups at different historical moments (Notes 238).

The term 'articulation' traditionally associated with Marx, Althusser and Gramsci, and takes a special resonance in the work of Start Hall. "…articulate means to utter, to speak forth, to be articulate. It carries that sense of languaging, of expressing, etc. But we also speak of an 'articulated' lorry (truck): a lorry where the front (cab) and back (trailer) can, but need not necessarily, be connected to one another. The two parts are connected to each other, but through specific linkage, that can be broken. An articulation is thus the form of the connection that can make a unity of two different elements, under certain conditions" (On Postmodernism 141).

Stuart Hall's articulation theory indicates relations of linkage between different levels of things which are related as much through differences as through their similarities. Hall regards all social, political and class formations, away from fixity and essentialism, as a product of articulation. Articulation is to combine existing elements into new patterns or attaching new connotations to them. It works through remapping and reinventing present factors in new ways. The position on identity that Hall takes through articulation of positions emphasizes difference over homogeneity, the local and transnational over the national and contingent positions over pure, fixed origins (Cultural Identity 394).

Stuart Hall's now classic definition states that articulation refers to the complex set of historical practices by which we struggle to produce identity or structural unity out of complexity, difference and contradiction. Basically it refers to how individuals relate themselves to their social contexts and histories. While we are all in some sense the repositories of past practices, through our actions we 'articulate', bridge and connect ourselves to practices and contexts in ways that are new to us (Introduction 13). In other terms, we continually shuttle between practices and meanings that are already constituted and 'the real conditions' in which we find ourselves.

Articulation, as a theoretical practice in Hall's writing, involves linking two or more different theoretical frameworks in order to move beyond the limits of either framework on its own. For example, the work of Gramsci is offered as a means of articulating culturalism and structuralism, while exposing the limitation of both. Hall's theorising is conjunctural in the sense that it is always informed by and articulated as a response to events at a particular historical moment. According to Hall, things should be disarticulated from their dominant meanings and rearticulated in new contexts (Cultural Studies: Two Paradigms67).

This perspective offers a nonessentialist theory of agency, a fragmented, decentered human agent who is both subjected by power and capable of acting against power. Articulation is the production of identity out of difference, of unities out of fragments, of structures across practices. We are then 'articulated' subjects: the product of being integrated into past practices and structures, but we are also always 'articulating' subjects: through our enactment of practices we construct new meanings; new identities for ourselves. That is why Hall speaks about identity as a source of restoring the decentered subject (The Question 305).

For Hall, the self is internally fragmented, incomplete, multiple and is produced and positioned- that is subjected to and determined-within discourse. Hall says"… the new subjects of New Times emerge out of a recognition of difference (i.e. of the specific contexts out of which we all speak) rather than homogeneity" (The Meaning 121). This recognition of difference involves a recognition of 'many' within the 'one' and a rejection of clear-cut binary oppositions: male/female, black/ white. It involves a sense of recognizing the multidimensionality of the positions we take up, and the need to re-position ourselves over time and in different circumstances (Representation 183).

The extent to which Hall's central concerns in cultural identity, race, ethnicity, the media and popular culture have been picked up and extended by CCCS thinkers is deniable. His approach is multidimensional and dialogic; it involves building 'new insights on to the old' rather than progressing in a one way fashion from one position to the next. Hall has continually rejected originality in favor of working with and through a series of often irreconcilable critical positions, rather than the 'grand narrative' of Cultural Studies (Stuart Hall's Ethics 11).

4. Thesis Outline

The present thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter one or Introduction commences with a general background of Jhumpa Lahiri's life and works. The contribution of Lahiri's special way of raising up to creating an immigrant identity-based fiction and her literary life are discussed in this section. The Argument deals with the significance of immigrant identity-based issues in Lahiri's work. In the same part, research questions of the thesis are presented. In Thesis Outline, the subtitles of each chapter along with subjects to be discussed under each sub-heading are focused. Methodology focuses on the history of Cultural Studies as a suitable approach for the present thesis. A brief definition of Stuart Hall's cultural theories closes the part titled Methodology. Definition of Terms defines technical words to be discussed during the thesis.

Chapter two is The Namesake under the light of Hall's articulation of cultural identities. The opening part of chapter two deals with The Namesake and the concept of identity. The section discusses the noteworthy aspects of cultural identity dialectics. It consists of three segments; the first one explains identity as a process of becoming through the novel. In the second part, identity is discussed as an articulated position. The third segment sets before identity as a constituted production. The researcher introduces Hall's theories as an answer to examine the concept of identity throughout the novel.

In chapter three Lahiri's The Namesake is introduced by focusing the concept of subjectivity. Firstly the summery of the novel is given, and then its themes are explored to find out how they pave the way for a Cultural Studies reading of the text regarding Hall's notions of subjectivity in general. The researcher examines how this text reflects Hall's viewpoints about subjectivity as a produced and constructed discursive position. The analysis of The Namesake in the light of Hall's notion of subject as a decentered and fragmented subject is the next issue. Moreover, his ideas of subject as a subject-in-process are also investigated.

Chapter four of the thesis discovers the concept of name within the novel to show how it works as a metaphor for identity throughout the novel. It is displayed that the fictional characters of the novel, such as Gogol are capable of projecting cultural identity. The story of Gogol's name reflects how cultural identity is a constructed position rather than a fixed or natural essence. Furthermore, the researcher discusses how the concept of name is applicable to Hall's theories as a floating signifier, a constructed process and an always in process production.

In the last chapter, the thesis covers findings, summing up and ideas for further research. The first part presents a summary of the main chapters. The second part, Findings, focuses on the goals and objectives of the thesis. Lahiri's mingling of cultural issues and literature or identity and literature are discussed. The third and final part of chapter five and the very final part of the thesis cites suggestions for further research for those who may be interested in diaspora literature or Lahiri's works.

5. Definition of Key Terms

Articulation: The form of the connection that can make a unity of two different elements, under certain conditions.

Culturalism: A term coined by Richard Johnson to describe the shared critical assumptions of Richard Hoggart and Raymond Williams in placing emphasis on what Hall terms 'creative and historical agency'- the power of people to express and determine their own actions- and defining human experience as the central agent in creative and historical processes.

Differance: The notion introduced by French deconstructionist Jacques Derrida, through exploiting the 'play' of meaning in the French original which means both 'to differ' and 'to defer'. It implies the logic that because meaning is not entirely present in the signifier which drives its meaning from elsewhere in the chain of signification, so language creates an endless deferral of meaning and meaning is always somewhere else since the final signified is perpetually postponed and deferred.

Hegemony: Developed from the work of Lenin, the term used by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci to refer to the system of beliefs, values, and meanings to which most people in a given society subscribe by leadership rather than rule. The Gramscian hegemony describes the process of establishing dominance within a culture, not by brute force but by voluntary consent.

Interpellation: Also called "hailing the subject," this term was coined by the Marxist stucturalist Louis Althusser to refer to the process whereby the dominant hegemony or prevailing ideology forms the attitudes of people in society.

Multi-accentuality: A term used by Russian Marxist linguist Valentine Volosinov to refer to the way in which language produces different, even opposing meanings depending on how it is 'accented' by those who 'speak' it within a given social context.

New Left: Taking its name from the French nouvelle gauch movement, the New Left emerged in Oxford in 1956 with Stuart Hall as a founding member. The movement was 'new' in terms of its decisive break with Soviet Union communism and Britain colonial politics.

The subject: A term used in postmodern and poststructuralist theory in place of terms like 'identity' and 'individual' which privilege a view of 'the self' as whole, centered, stable or autonomous. For Hall, the subject is internally fragmented, incomplete, multiple, and is produced and positioned - that is subjected to and determined- within discourse.