The (un)becoming-Scot: Irvine Welsh, Gilles Deleuze and the minor literature of Scotland after Scotland

Briand-Boyd, Julie (2019) The (un)becoming-Scot: Irvine Welsh, Gilles Deleuze and the minor literature of Scotland after Scotland. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis examines the works of Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh alongside the philosophical works of French poststructuralists Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari as a case study for minor literature. By utilising Deleuze and Guattari’s aesthetic philosophies in a deep reading of Welsh’s novels, the thesis hopes to highlight the post-national potentials within both minor literature theory and the literary philosophy of Irvine Welsh. The first half of the thesis consists of three chapters that highlight the three categorical elements of minor literature: minor use of a major language, anti-establishmentarian politics, and a collective value for audiences. In Chapters One, Two and Three, I will not only describe these factors, but I will attempt at examining the linguistic, political, and communitarian elements of unbecoming-Scottish throughout Welsh’s novels. The second half of the thesis specifically focuses more on the ways in which becoming and unbecoming can alter Welsh’s view of Scottish cultural and national identity, which, for him, begins in a critique of masculinity, violence, colonial histories, religious identity and the problems of family. Therefore, Chapters Four, Five and Six respond to the three elements of Welsh’s critiques of majoritarian national identity: in a becoming-woman, an unbecoming-man and a new becoming-pack, modes of existential transformation that challenge both patriarchy and the institution of family. Throughout the thesis, I hope to illustrate how the minor voices of Welsh’s works reflect the minor voices of other postnational, post-industrial writers and artists. In reading Welsh with Deleuze as a minor artist, we might find some radical value in the transgressive, cruel and brutal aesthetics of such an ‘unbecoming Scot’, Irvine Welsh. Like his characters who must face the terror of Scotland after Scotland, industry and country obliterated by failed attempts at independence and the growth of global neoliberal capitalism, this thesis faces the major, molar and dominant facets of national, linguistic, cultural, gendered or racial identity construction in Welsh’s novels, and thus to establish a universal response to poverty and violence: to choose life.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Irvine Welsh, minor literature, Gilles Deleuze, becoming, post-national Scottish literature, contemporary Scottish literature, 21st century British literature.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
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 > Scottish Literature
Supervisor's Name: Maley, Professor Willy and Riach, Professor Alan
Date of Award: 2019
Depositing User: Dr. Julie Briand-Boyd
Unique ID: glathesis:2019-74304
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Jul 2019 15:51
Last Modified: 05 Mar 2020 22:36
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.74304

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