How to Read Paddington Bear: Liberalism and the Foreign Subject in A Bear Called Paddington



This article explores Michael Bond's A Bear Called Paddington as a vernacular political text about bordering practices and foreignness. With the foreign subject in the UK positioned as both a cause of and a solution to politico-cultural problems, the Paddington stories illustrate how this ambivalence is deeply embedded within liberalism. It is argued that A Bear Called Paddington unpacks liberal conceptions of identity, migration and tolerance while drawing attention to specific negotiations of difference that render Paddington (and others like him) into precarious positions of insecurity. The article then illustrates how Paddington exemplifies the tensions caused by the presence of the foreigner in societies perceived to be liberal.