Published online by Cambridge University Press: 29 July 2021
While multicultural policy might be represented as a failure, or multicultural reality as threatening, the Gothic – as a psychoanalytic mode with a ready shorthand for the representation of violence, alienation and monstrosity – is ideally suited to return what mainstream discourse represses, to engage with the subject of fear and to speak the unspeakable. This chapter demonstrates how contemporary Gothic literature functions to reveal that which multicultural discourse seeks to repress: racism and inequality. I argue that alternative accounts of cultural contact foreground socio-economic inequality, racism and structural violence, while registrations of the impossible and the absurd function to signify a failure in discourse. The Gothic aesthetic is equally suited to represent sectarian violence as a source of fear through the literalisation of monstrosity, and I argue that in engaging with the mechanics of monster-making, contemporary Gothic offers a critique of the construction of fear (and terror) as a tool of (rather than a threat to) governments. Finally, I consider contemporary Gothic’s engagement with the afterlife as a space of multicultural harmony, equality and justice, holding a heterotopic mirror up to the inequalities of the present in which the management of diversity is hostage to political corruption and economic disparity.