This study explores the landscape of contemporary British fiction through detailed analysis of five authors that have emerged to critical prominence in the 21st century. The authors addressed - Ali Smith, Andrew O’Hagan, Tom McCarthy, Sarah Hall, and Jon McGregor – have all established themselves through popular and critical success, but have received significantly less attention than some of their peers. This book does not seek to thrust these authors into a putative canon of 21st century literary writing, but rather to explore through close attention to the resonances, continuities, elisions, and frictions across their works the temper of the contemporary moment as it is expressed by a group of writers. Each is devoted a chapter that analyses their creative output to-date within the frame of their stylistic and thematic development, as well as drawing comparisons across their writing and that of their peers. The intention is never to provide the kind of synoptical overview that a period-study might suggest, instead Twenty-First Century Fiction: Contemporary British Voices seeks to juxtapose critical readings within a constellation of contemporary literary concerns to examine what cultural energies and flows are emerging in the new century. In doing so, it identifies three recurrent areas of concern that might be said to infiltrate our times; these are Materiality, Connectivity, and Authenticity. In many forms and through many articulations, these issues emerge as insistent – if inchoate – questions about how current literary practice is responding to the challenge of the post-millennial world.
This chapter is necessarily brief and exploratory since we have yet to complete our elaboration of this category of questions. If we nevertheless make so bold as to place the chapter before the reader, it is because these questions form an integral, though yet unfinished, part of our study of the categories of twenty-first-century capital.
Reproduction under the conditions of late capitalism: the new quality of the general law of capitalist accumulation
Any economic system is structured by relations that
Academic analyses in cultural studies of the second half of the twentieth century had made a case to extend the term 'culture' to the tastes, practices and creativity of the groups marginalised by ethnicity and class. This book deals with Shakespeare's role in contemporary culture in twenty-first-century England. It looks in detail at the way that Shakespeare's plays inform modern ideas of cultural value and the work required to make Shakespeare part of modern culture. The book shows how advocacy for Shakespeare's universal and transcendent values deal with multiple forms of 'Shakespeare' in the present and the past. His plays have the potential to provide a tangible proxy for value that may stabilise the contingency and uncertainty that attends the discussion of both value and culture in the twenty-first century. The book shows how the discussions of culture involve both narratives of cultural change and ways of managing the knowledge in order to arrive at definitions of culture as valuable. It examines the new languages of value proffered by the previous Labour government in the first decade of the twenty-first century. The book further shows how both the languages and the practice of contemporary cultural policy have been drastically affected by economic pressures and the political changes occasioned by the post-2008 fiscal crisis.
Resistance, respectability and Black deaths in police custody
its heavily gendered assumptions, it is also the conduit through which brave, bold and, not unimportantly, successful assertions of anti-racist activism have often been channelled. To understand better the relationship between gender, anti-racism and the family, this chapter charts some of the connections between imperial cultures of respectability and nationalism in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe, and twenty-first-century racisms. This critical history of racist discourses builds on Black feminism, 9 which affirms that for Black activists, the family
Since the beginning of the
twenty-firstcentury, printmaking in China has shown a distinct
contemporaneity. The keen awareness on the part of many printmakers
of participating in contemporary art draws on two sources. One is an
aesthetic need of Chinese society, which has turned to prints as a
meaningful visual expression of recent cultural developments. The
Karl Polanyi (1886–1964) returned to public discourse in the 1990s, when the Soviet Union imploded and globalization erupted. Best known for The Great Transformation, Polanyi’s wide-ranging thought anticipated twenty-first-century civilizational challenges of ecological collapse, social disintegration and international conflict, and warned that the unbridled domination of market capitalism would engender nationalist protective counter-movements. In Karl Polanyi and Twenty-First-Century Capitalism, Radhika Desai and Kari Polanyi Levitt bring together prominent and new thinkers in the field to extend the boundaries of our understanding of Polanyi's life and work. Kari Polanyi Levitt's opening essay situates Polanyi in the past century shaped by Keynes and Hayek, and explores how and why his ideas may shape the twenty-first century. Her analysis of his Bennington Lectures, which pre-dated and anticipated The Great Transformation, demonstrates how Central European his thought and chief concerns were. The next several contributions clarify, for the first time in Polanyi scholarship, the meaning of money as a fictitious commodity. Other contributions resolve difficulties in understanding the building blocks of Polanyi's thought: fictitious commodities, the double movement, the United States' exceptional development, the reality of society and socialism as freedom in a complex society. The volume culminates in explorations of how Polanyi has influenced, and can be used to develop, ideas in a number of fields, whether income inequality, world-systems theory or comparative political economy. Contributors: Fred Block, Michael Brie, Radhika Desai, Michael Hudson, Hannes Lacher, Kari Polanyi Levitt, Chikako Nakayama, Jamie Peck, Abraham Rotstein, Margaret Somers, Claus Thomasberger, Oscar Ugarteche Galarza.
Capital of the twenty-firstcentury as a dialectical negation of the previous evolution of capitalism: relations of exploitation
Before reviewing the most modern forms of exploitation involving the subordination of creative activity to capital, we should stress that modern capitalism is a complex system involving all the basic ‘layers’ of interaction between labour and capital, in their modern spatial reality, that characterise the historical evolution of the capitalist mode of production.
The starting-point for the book is its chapter on methodology. Found here are not only critiques of conventional Soviet Marxism-Leninism and post-modernism, but also a new rethinking of the classic dialectic. For the most part, however, the book focuses on revealing the new quality now assumed by commodities, money, and capital within the global economy. The market has become not only global, but a totalitarian force that is not a ‘socially neutral mechanism of coordination’. It is now a product of the hegemony of corporate capital, featuring the growth of new types of commodity: information, simulacra, and so forth. The book demonstrates the new qualities acquired by value, use value, price, and commodity fetishism within this new market, while exploring the contradictions of non-limited resources (such as knowledge) and the commodity form of their existence. Money is now a virtual product of fictitious financial capital, possessing a new nature, contradictions, and functions. This analysis of the new nature of money helps to reveal the essence of so-called financialisation. Capital has become the result of a complex system of exploitation. In the twenty-first-century context this exploitation includes the ‘classic’ extraction of surplus value from industrial workers combined with internal corporate redistribution of income by ‘insiders’; international exploitation; and the exploitation of creative labour through the expropriation of intellectual rent.
The drama of dying in the early twentyfirst century
Death and dying are hot topics in the early twenty-firstcentury, though
they have not lost their power to chill. As discussed in Chapter 3, the
‘death awareness movement’, which began in the mid-twentieth century,
raised consciousness and advocated for transparency about issues relating to mortality. The hospice movement, led by Cecily Saunders in
England in the 1960s, likewise advanced a patient-centred approach to
care for the terminally ill. In the latter decades of the twentieth century,
The political economy of
This chapter argues that the political economy of twenty-first-century conservatism
has remained firmly within neo-liberal parameters. The endurance of neo-liberalism
in the Conservative Party was illustrated by the response offered to the financial
crisis of 2007–8 and the subsequent recession, which was characterised by an overriding concern about the size of the fiscal deficit. However, the ideological hold
of Thatcherism on Conservative economic thinking can be traced throughout