Schulze, Jutta (2011):
"A "Truth Like This": Language and the Construction of Power and Knowledge in Vampire Fiction." Eds. Betker, Carolin; Ecke, Stefan; Freitag, Katharina; Harms, Christina; Panchenko, Nadezha N.; Polkau, Marianne; Schuster, Bettina; Vogel, Christiane. aspeers 4: 109-130.
Journal Article

The paper examines the relationship between power, knowledge, and language in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight from the vantage point of discourses on vampirism. Based on Michel Foucault’s notion of power as a localized, ubiquitous, and heterogeneous set of social strategies, it discusses the constitutive role of language in the construction of power relationships, focusing on gender and sexual relationships in both novels. In Dracula, the patriarchal system functions as a dominant discourse which prescribes legitimate sexual relations for women, while vampirism threatens this order by pointing out its gaps and inconsistencies. Revealing the ‘in-between’ of this order’s dichotomous relations, the rupture of its supposed coherence and ‘naturalness’ manifests itself through the notion of desire. Desire shares important features with language, as it is characterized by difference and deferral. Despite its appearance as an alternative social order, the interplay between power, knowledge, and language in Twilight suggests similar restrictions to female sexuality. This discourse on vampirism and sexuality is constructed by Edward and Bella, but is decisively mediated through Bella’s narrative voice. Their collaboration establishes a relationship of power which casts Bella in a state of weakness and submissiveness but also shows how language and knowledge may transform power relationships.