Alternative publishing and audience participation
in Working-class writing and publishing in the late twentieth century
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The forms of publishing pursued by workshops were built upon intense local interest in the histories and experiences of ordinary people, which were also well received among radical and labour movement networks. This gave rise to an evangelism to encourage more people to take up writing. However, this model of a responsive readership was to be challenged in the 1980s with the weeding out of alternatives and the imposition of a limited idea of the market, which served to marginalise one version of working-class writing in the face of new demands for ‘quality’ writing. Yet, this was a two-way street in which there was an exchange of ideas between formal and informal approaches. This highlights the varied nature of markets and the way that, in certain circumstances, they could be moulded to democratic needs as well as representing an alien force to writers.

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