The Child as Nation: Embodying the Nation in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children

  • Lucy Hopkins
Part of the Critical Cultural Studies of Childhood book series (CCSC)


Ideas of childhood and the child have long been central to the imagining of the nation: tropes of immaturity, growth, and development that underpin notions of childhood have long been co-opted into the service of the nation. As critic Jo-Ann Wallace (1995) argues:

The category of “the child”, a foundational product of the modern episteme, remains an unacknowledged and therefore unexamined organising principle… of the modern nation-state in its relations with many of its own citizens and those of the so-called developing world. (286)

Wallace calls for an investigation of the ways in which dominant discourses of childhood—that naturalize the child’s development toward a normative, rational adulthood—are put to use in the making of social and political hierarchies of the nation.


Dominant Discourse Child Subject Colonial Discourse Political Hierarchy Colonial Domination 
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© Lucy Hopkins 2016

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  • Lucy Hopkins

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