The Transcultural Self: Mapping a French Identity in Contemporary Australian Women’s Travel Memoirs
Striking is the desire among many of these writers to claim a French identity, as evidenced in titles such as: Almost French, How to Be French, My French Life. The paper seeks to understand what enables Frenchness to appear as readily accessible to this group of Australian women and what this version of Frenchness entails. It investigates what constitutes cultural belonging in these memoirs, and the ‘technologies of the self’ by means of which this new identity is crafted, assumed and circulated as a template for others to follow. Curiously, neither a high level of French language proficiency nor long-term residence are considered essential attributes. More often, the authors focus on the availability of alternative forms of female subjectivity, and the invention of a transcultural self is articulated in terms of cultural paradigms of femininity and gender relations.
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