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Re-Imagining Class

Intersectional Perspectives on Class Identity and Precarity in Contemporary Culture

Michiel Rys (Editor), Liesbeth François (Editor),

Category: Diversity and Equity Studies, Literature

Language: English

ISBN: 9789462704022

Publication date: May 23, 2024

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Number of pages: 320

Size: 234 x 156 x 16 mm

Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content

Funded by: KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access

Stock item: 160370

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For Belgium: 5 to 8 working days

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Category: Diversity and Equity Studies, Literature

Language: English

DOI: 10.11116/9789461665690

ISBN: 9789461665690

Publication date: May 13, 2024

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Number of pages: 320

Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content

Funded by: KU Leuven Fund for Fair Open Access


Unique cross-cultural and multimedial approach to class identity and precarity in literature, theatre, and film

Contemporary culture not merely reflects ongoing societal transformations, it shapes our understanding of rapidly evolving class realities. Literature, theatre, and film urge us to put the question of class back on the agenda, and reconceptualize it through the lens of precarity and intersectionality. Relying on examples from British, French, Spanish, German, American, Swedish and Taiwanese culture, the contributors to this book document a variety of aesthetic strategies in an interdisciplinary dialogue with sociology and political theory. Doing so, this volume demonstrates the myriad ways in which culture opens up new pathways to imagine and re-imagine class as an economic relation, an identity category, and a subjective experience. Situated firmly within current debates about the impact of social mobility, precarious work, intersectional structures of exploitation, and interspecies vulnerability, this volume offers a wide-ranging panorama of contemporary class imaginaries.

Contributors: Magnus Nilsson (Malmö University), Christian Claesson (Lund University), Christoph Schaub (University of Vechta), Olaf Berwald (Middle Tennessee State University), Valeria Pulignano (KU Leuven), Lander Vermeerbergen (Radboud University), Markieta Domecka (KU Leuven) Deborah Dean (Warwick University), Sula Textor (Potsdam University), Irene Husser (University of Tübingen), Katrin Becker (University of Siegen), Marissia Fragkou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) Sarah Pogoda (Bangor University), Daniel Brookes (University of Worcester), Tim Christiaens (Tilburg University), Joeri Verbesselt (KU Leuven), Syaman Rapongan (writer).

Ebook available in Open Access. This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).


Re-Imagining Class: Intersectional Perspectives on Class Identity and Precarity in Contemporary Culture
Michiel Rys and Liesbeth François


1.1 Writing (for) the Precariat: Mats Teglund’s Cykelbudet (2021) and Pelle Sunvisson’s Svenska palmen (2021)
Magnus Nilsson

1.2 Making Visible the Invisible: Spanish Post-Crisis Fiction
Christian Claesson


2.1 The Poetics of Personal Authenticity: Diversity, Intersectionality and the Working Class in Contemporary German Literature
Christoph Schaub

2.2 Narrating the Precariat: Social Wounds in Terézia Mora’s and Wilhelm Genazino’s Novels
Olaf Berwald

2.3 “Know Where to Fish”: Class and Gender Precarity and Project-based Networks in Creative and Cultural Industries
Valeria Pulignano, Deborah Dean, Markieta Domecka and Lander Vermeerbergen


3.1 Double(ing) Voices: Narrating Precarious Class Status and Class Identities
Sula Textor

3.2 Obstacles to Leaving, Problems of Arriving: Gender and Genealogy in Contemporary German Narratives of the Social Climber (Christian Baron, Bov Bjerg, Deniz Ohde, Anke Stelling)
Irene Husser

3.3 Narrating Class and Classlessness in Contemporary British Novels of Black Women’s Social Climbing
Katrin Becker


4.1 Affected by Discomfort: Class and Precarity in Twenty- First Century Theatre
Marissia Fragkou

4.2 The Redundancy: Playing Production in Academic Capitalism
Sarah Pogoda

4.3 “The View Is Nice, but You Can’t Eat It”: A Poetics of Precarity in Bait (2019, Dir: Mark Jenkin)
Daniel Brookes


5.1 Bare Land: Alienation as Deracination in Anna Tsing and John Steinbeck
Tim Christiaens

5.2 Interspecies Storytelling for Prudent Predation
Joeri Verbesselt and Syaman Rapongan

List of Contributors

Michiel RysORCID icon

Michiel Rys is postdoctoral researcher of the FWO in the Research Unit of Literary Studies and Cultural Studies at KU Leuven.

Liesbeth François

Liesbeth François is teaching associate in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics at the University of Cambridge, and fellow in Spanish at Downing College.

Re-imagining Class not only demonstrates the recent resurgence of interest in class in the humanities and social sciences but confirms that some of the most exciting and necessary current scholarship focuses on the concept. Michiel Rys and Liesbeth François’ wide-ranging collection valuably contributes to efforts to produce more theoretically-sophisticated and internationally-engaged forms of intersectional scholarship, capable of analyzing class, and the position of the working-class in particular, in a neoliberal system in crisis. - Ben Clarke, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

This important volume brings together heterogeneous and complex stories about class, poverty and precarization that also stimulate a theoretical recomposition of the concept of class - a rhizomatic composition of analyses of narrative and visual stories from literature, film and theater. - Isabell Lorey, Academy of Media Arts Cologne

This important anthology both contributes to and consolidates the emerging field of new class and precarity research in literary and cultural studies. It helps consolidate the field through its thorough and highly useful overview of most existing research while its major contribution to scholarship is the intersectional approach and the inclusion of multiple regional perspectives as well as hitherto largely neglected forms and genres. In sum, this is a welcome contribution that will surely become an unmistakable point of reference for future scholarship. - Peter Simonsen, University of Southern Denmark

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