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Title: Subtexts of subversion : counter-hegemonic discourses in contemporary fiction under neoliberalism
Author: Codice, Martina
ISNI:       0000 0004 9358 3910
Awarding Body: Bangor University
Current Institution: Bangor University
Date of Award: 2020
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The past forty years have witnessed the progressive shift of neoliberalism from economic and political doctrine to ontological imperative (Huehls and Greenwald Smith, 2017). So pervasively has neoliberal ideology bled into previously non-economic areas of social life that it is now perceived as a natural, inevitable and unquestionable brand of Gramscian ‘common sense’. This inescapability of the neoliberal hegemony has led critics such as Slavoj Žižek and Fredric Jameson to affirm that it is now easier to imagine the end of the world than the breakdown of late capitalism. Through an analysis of literary representations of what has effectively been the neoliberalisation of work, space and leisure, this thesis explores the ways in which contemporary literature challenges the indisputability of the neoliberal discourse and rejects the unimaginability of any alternative to the status quo. In so doing, this thesis reasserts the committed character of contemporary literature and its role in exposing the socially constructed nature of the neoliberal consensus. By means of a comparative analysis of novels published from the 1980s to the 2010s in Britain, the United States and Italy, this work brings into dialogue the literary traditions of the more prototypically neoliberal British and American economies with that of a country where the process of neoliberalisation was more recent and arguably only half-hearted. In order to decode the authors’ portrayal of the existential condition under neoliberalism, this thesis avails itself of the conceptual framework of ‘liminality’ in its recent applications to advanced, industrialised societies (Turner, 1974; Szakolczai, 2014; Thomassen, 2014). This research recognises in liminality a recurring feature of contemporary society and it interprets it as both symptomatic of an increasing precarisation of existence and, by virtue of its associations with transitional and transformational states that render it a fertile terrain for the emergence of counter-hegemonic discourses, as an instrument of systemic critique.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: literary criticism ; comparative literature ; neoliberalism ; liminality ; work ; leisure ; space ; Italian literature ; fiction ; British literature ; American literature