Focusing on one of the most frequent and explicit targets of Thatcher’s economic policies, working-class men in traditional heavy industries, I explore representations of the dissolution of both unions and private space under Thatcher. Looking at fiction, films, and screenplays by Barry Hines, James Kelman, Irvine Welsh, and David Peace, among others, I trace the destruction of a community-based form of masculinity, focusing on an evolution from earlier, more naturalistic treatments of the era into two divergent strains of late depictions: individualist, fantastic stories like Billy Elliot, and more collectivist, formally innovative texts like GB84.
Collectivism and Thatcher’s “Classless” Society in British Fiction and Film
Mary McGlynn is associate professor of English at Baruch College, CUNY. She writes about contemporary English, Scottish, and Irish fiction, and also about film, country music, and cultural studies. She is author of Narratives of Class in New Irish and Scottish Literature, with works-in-progress about Irish fiction during the Celtic Tiger and meritocracy in British detective fiction.
Mary McGlynn; Collectivism and Thatcher’s “Classless” Society in British Fiction and Film. Twentieth-Century Literature 1 September 2016; 62 (3): 309–336. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-3654227
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