© 2014

The Spectral Metaphor

Living Ghosts and the Agency of Invisibility


About this book


What does it mean to live as a ghost? Exploring spectrality as a metaphor in the contemporary British and American cultural imagination, Peeren proposes that certain subjects – migrants, servants, mediums and missing persons – are perceived as living ghosts and examines how this figuration can signify both dispossession and empowerment or agency.


America bibliography hospital imagination living Medium metaphor migrant migrants migration subject time

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Media StudiesUniversity of AmsterdamNetherlands

About the authors

Esther Peeren is Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam and Researcher at the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies and the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, Netherlands. She authored Intersubjectivities and Popular Culture (2008) and co-edited Popular Ghosts (2010) and The Spectralities Reader (2013).

Bibliographic information


"This is an important and original work of criticism. The perspective it adopts is fresh and gripping; the application of the 'spectral metaphor' to non-literal situations, such as the 'invisibility' of migrant workers and domestic servants, expands the sense of 'spectrality' in fascinating new ways; the scholarship and theoretical acumen are superb throughout; the written style of the work is elegant, precise and accessible; and the political and ethical implications of the study are lucidly spelled out, without any attempt prematurely to resolve the most difficult issues." - Colin Davis, Royal Holloway University of London, UK