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Title: Novels of precarity : neoliberal counternarratives in contemporary British women's fiction
Author: Henesy, Megan Louise
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 2657
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis argues that there isa growing canon of contemporary women’s literature that is interested in exploring and reimagingthe ‘capitalist fraying’1 of conventional good-­life fantasies in contemporary Britain. By primarily using the theories of Lauren Berlant and Sara Ahmed as a framework for understanding how precarity can be considered from an affective standpoint, this thesis will study how the chosen authors present British neoliberal society as an inherently precarious environment. The thesis begins by discussing the evolution of the neologism ‘precarity’ from a term used to describe the shifting socioeconomic environment at the turn of the millennium, to one utilised across a range of disciplines to broadly describe the affective experience of living and working under neoliberal capitalism. In the first chapter, the thesis will explore how Ali Smith’s novel Hotel World presents contemporary Britain as an exclusionary environment epitomised by the non-­‐place at the centre of its interweaving narratives: the Global Hotel. The second chapter discusses Kate Atkinson’s Started Early, Took My Dog, a novel which utilises the genre of detective fiction to explore two time frames that bookend the age of neoliberal ideology, the 1970s and the present day. The third chapter will study how Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black utilises gothic tropes to display a fractured contemporary Britain, which teeters on the edge of social and environmental ruin. The thesis aims to demonstrate that these writers, in challenging the traditional narratives of the good life fantasy, are creating works that present a counternarrative to neoliberalism.
Supervisor: Hanson, Sheila ; Cobb, Shelley Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available