Class and identity
in Working-class writing and publishing in the late twentieth century
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The history of working-class writing workshops provides a fascinating example of how changes in class and the emergence of new identities were handled in cultural terms. It challenges the view that a straightforward dichotomy arose between class and other forms of identity based upon race, gender, sexuality and disability. Workshops defended their devotion to working-class writers and organisation and were wary about the involvement of middle-class people. But multiple versions of class were in play and this would be complemented by the development of women’s, black and lesbian and gay writing groups. Intense and, at times, acrimonious debates over the nature of class and identity took place. Some writers redefined class in terms of a specific identity group. As a whole, the movement held together diverse streams of activity which challenged simplistic ideas that class no longer played a role in cultural life.

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