Becoming the virus: responsibility and cosmopolitan labor in Hari Kunzru's Transmission Academic Article uri icon


  • This article considers Hari Kunzrus 2005 novel, Transmission, and its critique of the attributes and assumptions of globalized neoliberal culture, such as an unequivocally positive view of the value of global mobility, and increased diversity of global job opportunities. Through the metaphorical use of a computer virus, Kunzru complicates widespread representations of "privileged" cosmopolitan subjects as divorced from material place and preoccupied with consumerist pleasures, and imagines a new model for global interconnectedness. I argue that, through this criticism and metaphor, Kunzru posits the need for, and the beginnings of citizenship practices centered around, what might be termed a viral cosmopolitanism, that constantly evolves as it moves throughout the world, becoming more heterogeneous, rather than homogenous, through its various points of global contact. 2013 Taylor & Francis.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Johansen, E.

citation count

  • 5

complete list of authors

  • Johansen, Emily

publication date

  • January 2013