Dangerous narratives: politics, lies, and ghost stories

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Louise Katz


Narratives that resonate in the cultural imagination inform the ways in which we apprehend the world. This paper considers how certain images and stories that have been valorised over time, bleed into reality and become socially and politically affective. The identity of an entire people, for example, can be rendered down so that those social groups come to seem more spectral than human, through either misrecognition or a lack of acknowledgment. This idea will be discussed through two examples: one provided by traditional anti-Semitism, in which the Jew is viewed as a vampiristic agent of decay; and another in which the Arab presence becomes ‘spectralised’ in contemporary Israel/Palestine. We will look at the development of narratives that create these images, and also consider the liminal zone wherein those images have their source, because it is through imagination and storytelling that we continually create and recreate the realities we must then inhabit.

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Articles (refereed)