The obscure subject: working-class masculine identity under neoliberalism in three British novels (1985-2009)

Hutchinson, Simone (2015) The obscure subject: working-class masculine identity under neoliberalism in three British novels (1985-2009). MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis examines the socio-political engagements with concepts of masculine working class identity in three British novels written between 1985 and 2009 by James Kelman, Magnus Mills and Monica Ali. It argues that the three primary texts each differently explore a similar conceptualization of masculine identity tied to forms of industrial work. With reference to Jacques Rancière’s writings, this thesis applies the interrelated concepts of ‘politics’, ‘police’ and ‘radical equality’ to the primary texts in an attempt to consider why and in what ways British novels produced during the neoliberal era represent and explore such an anachronistic masculine working-class identity. To aid that discussion, the thesis contemplates Rancière’s critique of the concept of the proletariat and considers the historical development in Britain of the masculine ‘worker’ persona in order to foreground my central argument that the protagonists in each text represent an obscure subject resisting the reach of the proletariat and worker identities, and whose very obscurity enables the different engagements played out within each text. This thesis aims to emphasize the importance for literature studies to reconsider the figure of the proletariat-styled ‘workingman’ in contemporary literature for rethinking politics within an era shaped by advanced neoliberal capitalism.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Anglophone literature, Jacques Rancière, politics of class identity, neoliberalism, class identity in literature, masculine identity in literature, English novels, Scottish novels
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Randall, Dr. Bryony and Stoddart, Dr. Helen
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Ms Simone Hutchinson
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6665
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 09 Sep 2015 09:22
Last Modified: 16 Sep 2015 08:36

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