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Narrating the >Underclass< in Black British Fiction

The Limits of Stereotyping

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287 S.

In englischer Sprache

Königshausen u. Neumann. ISBN 978-3-8260-7936-8


When one is poor and black, it is hard »to come into representation« (Hall, New Ethnicities 164). Those on the margins of society are usually talked and written about rather than given a voice of their own. Young black men in particular are stereotyped as criminal and violent, as dangerous threats to society. In this context the term >underclass< comes="" up="" time="" and="" again="" in="" public="" discourse.="" it="" is="" a="" very="" controversial="" label="" which="" masquerades="" as="" a="" scientific="" descriptor="" but="" actually="" fulfils="" the="" ideological="" function="" of="" stigmatising="" the="" poor="" and="" justifying="" their="" criminalisation="" and="" marginalisation.="" black="" british="" novels="" dealing="" with="" the="">underclass<, such="" as="" alex="" wheatle's="" east="" of="" acre="" lane="" (2001)="" and="" the="" dirty="" south="" (2008)="" as="" well="" as="" courttia="" newland's="" the="" scholar="" (1997),="" put="" those="" living="" on="" the="" periphery="" of="" british="" society="" at="" the="" centre="" of="" their="" narratives="" -="" as="" focalisers="" or="" first-person="" narrators.="" their="" stories="" provide="" a="" place="" where="" stereotypes="" about="">black youth< are="" scrutinised="" and="" challenged.="" within="" the="" field="" of="" black="" british="" fiction,="" black="">underclass< subjectivities="" seem="" to="" be="" somewhat="" overlooked="" in="" literary="" representations;="" and="" they="" only="" appear="" on="" the="" margins="" of="" academic="" research.="" this="" study="" aims="" at="" improving="" this="" situation="" by="" providing="" a="" comprehensive="" analysis="" of="" the="" representational="" strategies="" employed="" by="" the="" selected="" black="" british="" novels="" as="" well="" as="" discussing="" the="" conditions="" under="" which="" black="" british="" authors="" and="" their="" work="" are="" perceived="" and="" marketed="" by="" the="" publishing="" industry.="" the="" analysis="" draws="" attention="" to="" the="" way="" in="" which="" structural="" racism,="" classism="" and="" sexism="" impact="" protagonists="" and="" authors="">

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