Rupturing otherness, fashioning the self: The aesthetics and politics of self-transformation in Sakinna Boukhedenna’s Journal ‘Nationalité: immigré(e)’

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SAGE Publications


Written in the form of a journal, Sakinna Boukhedenna’s novel Journal ‘Nationalité: immigré(e)’ presents the narrative of a young woman’s peregrinations: a journey that leads her from the restricted space of a Mulhouse ‘cité’ to uncharted spaces within and outside French national territory. The protagonist embarks on a transnational adventure, going from the France of her birth to the Algeria of her parents, attempting to counteract the competitive discourses and practices of power that have undermined any easy sense of belonging. But Sakinna’s narrative moves beyond identity politics and restrictive rhetoric of place and belonging. Its importance lies in the manner in which it enacts a new space and temporality of representation that articulate affiliation as transgression. This article examines how the text provides a critical perspective on the control mechanisms of society and furnishes us with a critical perspective of the mechanisms of self-making and self-transformation. The journal form itself conjoins performativity and narrative. It becomes a performative space in which the protagonist creatively reinvents herself and transforms her social environment.