By Alexander Beaumont (auth.)

ISBN-10: 1137393726

ISBN-13: 9781137393722

ISBN-10: 1349483672

ISBN-13: 9781349483679

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Additional resources for Contemporary British Fiction and the Cultural Politics of Disenfranchisement: Freedom and the City

Sample text

At its heart my reading hinges on the apparent refusal of such areas to capitulate to the logics of market rationalisation and cultural normativity that became fundamental to the Thatcherite project of urban regeneration over the course of the 1980s. In 1981, in the wake of a summer of unrest in Liverpool, London and Manchester, The Economist identified the riots’ origins in ideologically driven postwar planning and spendthrift Labour councils with large, publicly administered housing programmes.

In Visions of the City, David Pinder calls for the revival of utopia as a means of imagining new possibilities for the city, and explicitly warns against the lure of antiutopianism: ‘In its extreme form’, he writes, ‘the turn against utopianism is symptomatic of a closing down of imaginative horizons and even a slide into a reactionary acquiescence to dominant understandings and representations of cities and to the injustices of existing conditions’ (2005: 243). This may be the case, as far as an analysis of the city is concerned.

Rather, I want to illustrate how, in exposing the cultural politics of disenfranchisement to analysis, Winterson’s novel says something important about the relationship between literature, politics and critical theory in late twentieth-century Britain. Consequently, I will not provide a precise definition of the term until the very end, in order to allow its historically particular nature to emerge inductively out of my analysis. As will become clear, to work in the opposite direction would be to risk implying that left culturalist thinkers knowingly abandoned freedom as a political category in the process of developing a praxis equal to the task of challenging Thatcherism.

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Contemporary British Fiction and the Cultural Politics of Disenfranchisement: Freedom and the City by Alexander Beaumont (auth.)


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