Sex Complexity and Politics in Black Dogs by Ian McEwan

  • Mina AbbasiyannejadEmail author
  • Rosli Talif
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


Ian McEwan’s Black Dogs (BD) is a story of socio-political conflict during the critical era of the Cold War. Black Dogs is riddled with party (political) domination and its outcomes in society. Europe is still suffering the consequences of the Second World War, perhaps the biggest war of the twentieth century. In the aftermath of such worldwide upheaval, the conflicts that were in tandem with the scramble for political domination emerged in diverse ways, affecting nations and their human populations. Systematic sexual assault during the war years showed that sex was used both for intimidation and humiliation. This study attempts to picture the multidimensional aspects of politics which are practically related to the most intimate human relationship, that is, sex. It pictures how personal is equated with the political and vice versa. The theory of sexual politics is the theoretical framework used to scrutinize power-structure relationship. By reviewing the major conflicts in such a scenario, as the Cold War, and societal restriction, this study concludes that conflict in the macrocosm (world and society) affects the microcosm (individual) in McEwan’s Black Dogs. It provides a rather broad picture of politics and sexuality and highlights the stresses of wider society on human dysfunctional relationships. Rape as a tactic of war for a political goal demonstrates another aspect of sex. Reviewing the period in which the story takes place and relating it to the conflicts in society, the study goes beyond simple cause and effect problems among individuals and portrays a holistic view of sexuality and society.


Sexual politics Personal Political Conflict Rape War Complexity 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.English Department, Faculty of Modern Languages and CommunicationUniversity Putra MalaysiaSerdang, SelangorMalaysia

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