Theorising the collective in British estate literature

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This article attends to recent examples of British estate literature, a literary form which extends across disparate genres and media. In general, estate literature attempts to correct pernicious prejudices about communities centred on the council estate, stereotypes which align classist, racist, and sexist rhetoric to marginalise this population. In addition to locating recent examples of estate literature – Caleb Femi’s, Poor (2020), Anders Lustgarten’s The Seven Acts of Mercy (2016), and Guy Gunaratne’s In Our Mad and Furious City (2018) – amidst this socio-economic context, this paper also identifies the various formal features these works draw upon to generate a collective voice which at once rejects the othering of the council estate while also resisting the temptation to substitute one reductive group identity label for another. In these texts, often-surprising connections are formed on the grounds of the estate between people, objects, ideas, art, music – and fade as suddenly as they appear. The essay spans media studies, literary criticism, and sociology to argue that the networks conjured by estate literature are not only corrective but generative, inasmuch as they indicate that more affirmative configurations of these networks are possible.
TidsskriftTextual Practice
StatusE-pub ahead of print - 7. aug. 2023


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