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Intolerable fictions

Davies, D. ORCID: 0000-0002-3584-5789 (2023). Intolerable fictions. In: Kauranen, R., Löytty, O., Nikkilä, A. & Vuorinne, A. (Eds.), Comics and Migration: Representation and Other Practices. . Routledge India. doi: 10.4324/9781003254621-18


This chapter disputes two frequently held assumptions about images of conflict and migration that tend to shape critical approaches to refugee comics. Drawing on visual theorists such as Susan Sontag and Jacques Rancière, it first refutes the idea that there are “too many images” in the digital media age, and then, second, it contests the notion that the verifiable “truth” of the photographic image itself is currently in question. It argues that instead of understanding comics as a medium that tells “truer” refugee stories, or as a form that counteracts the banalisation of the photographic image, it might be more helpful to approach contemporary graphic narratives about migration as “intolerable fictions” that challenge and overturn dominant relationships between image and text. The chapter demonstrates this approach through a reading of two pages from Ben Dix and Lindsay Pollock’s graphic novel Vanni: A Family’s Struggle Through the Sri Lankan Conflict (2019). It shows how these pages do not reductively assume a straight line between the readerly perception of images and political action, but instead build new configurations of what can be thought of, what can be seen, and what kinds of common sense dictate how “action” is conceived.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Comics and Migration on 31 March 2023, available online:
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > English, Publishing & Creative Writing
[thumbnail of Dom Davies_Comics and Migration_Ch15_Author Accepted Manuscript.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
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