Literature As Intervention
Struggles Over Cultural Identity in Contemporary Scottish Fiction
Scottish authors have written some of the most compelling and popular fiction to come out of the United Kingdom over the last two decades. In narratives that are sometimes shocking, sometimes lyrical, but always urgent, Irvine Welsh, James Kelman, Alasdair Gray, Janice Galloway, Iain Banks, Duncan McLean, A.L. Kennedy, Frank Kuppner and others ask what it means to live in Scotland at the dawn of the 21st century. Nationalist critics celebrate this new wave of fiction as the cultural rebirth of Scotland. However, none of these authors provide homely identifications; instead, they explore the complexities of life in multicultural, multimedia, postcapitalist and postnational societies.
Jürgen Neubauer introduces a wide range of novels, storys and essays by contemporary Scottish authors and situates them in the present struggles for cultural identity in Scotland. Bringing recent theories of culture and identity to these texts, he shows how they participate in a multiplicity of struggles along the faultlines of gender, class, age, or region. Addressing teachers and students alike, he asks how these cultural texts can become part of an emancipatory pedagogy that moves beyond the polarising logic of nationalism and faces the immense challenges of a postnational world.
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Keywords: Irvine Welsh, James Kelman, Alasdair Gray, Janice Galloway, Iain Banks, Duncan McLean, A.L. Kennedy, Frank Kuppner, Jürgen Neubauer, Literature as Intervention, Scottish Literature, Cultural Studies, Scotland, independence