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Humanities 2019, 8(1), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010051

Regulating Desire: The Nature of Exhaustion in Ali Smith’s Hotel World and Ewan Morrison’s Tales from the Mall

Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7HS, UK
Received: 12 September 2018 / Revised: 6 November 2018 / Accepted: 5 March 2019 / Published: 8 March 2019
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Abstract

This article offers an ecocritical analysis of Ali Smith’s Hotel World (2001) and Ewan Morrison’s Tales from the Mall (2012). Through a combination of the world-ecology paradigm, feminist approaches, and queer theory, I argue that these texts connect normative desires to capitalism’s “organization of nature.” The opening section of the article links Nancy Fraser’s work on social reproduction to Jason Moore’s argument that nature, in world-ecological terms, provides the “free gifts” (of work, energy, and even care) necessary for capitalist productivity. Morrison’s and Smith’s texts register this dynamic, positioning hierarchy, sexism, and the uneven experience of neoliberal violence in relation to enclosure, attacks on women, and environmental destruction. I detail how Hotel World binds suburban ecology to normative regulation, while Tales from the Mall connects land clearance to the geographical organization of class inequality. I then contend that the psychological and physical exhaustion of women in both works can be understood in relation to capitalism’s reduction of nature to an appropriable resource that provides comfort and pleasure for wealthy consumers. The article ends with an examination of how the texts reject liberal fantasies of benevolent capitalist globalization in the context of Scotland specifically, indicating the need for new narratives that challenge capitalism’s ecological regime. View Full-Text
Keywords: Scottish literature; world-ecology; feminism; queer theory; environmental humanities Scottish literature; world-ecology; feminism; queer theory; environmental humanities
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Paye, M. Regulating Desire: The Nature of Exhaustion in Ali Smith’s Hotel World and Ewan Morrison’s Tales from the Mall. Humanities 2019, 8, 51.

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