Transnational Empathy in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake

Athira Prakash


Empathy is the capacity to recognize acknowledge and identify what the other person think, feel and perceive. The origin of the word empathy can be traced back to the Greek word empatheia meaning physical affection and passion. The first use of the equivalent word of empathy seems to be found in the usage of a German word by  Hermann Lotze and Robert Vischer  meaning ‘feeling into’.The term was later translated in to English as ‘Empathy’ by Edward B. Titchenerr. Inter personal empathy is directly proportional to the similarities in the living condition, culture, education, family back ground etc. Naturally there exists a dynamic interpersonal relation when people are empathetic to each other. However the concept of empathy is crucial and complex when it comes in the arena of International relations and transnational Politics. Without empathy world will become chaotic and uncivilized. It allows us to make the bond of trust. Dr. Carolyn Pedwell has rightly pointed out that the empathy is differently felt, constructed and mobilized across range of key sites where issues of social justice and transnational politics are at stake.

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