Situating close readings of Nina Bouraoui’s latest novel Standard
(2014) within the context of a critique of neoliberalism and of the ongoing geopolitical uprisings in the Arab world, this essay presents the novel as a fine literary and affective exploration of personal concerns relating to sex, gender, and desire as well as a sociohistorical chronicle detailing how representations of personal and intimate relations may illuminate wider social ills together with the mechanism of contemporary political life. Drawing on critical work on affect by Sara Ahmed, Lauren Berlant, Judith Butler, and Judith/Jack Halberstam, this article argues that through its focus on affect, the text contributes to the unveiling and critical questioning of the biopolitical maneuvers that dispose life to precarity and of the ensuing desire for freedom, dignity, and rebellion.
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