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Capitalist realism: Glimmers, working-class authenticity and Andrea Dunbar in the twenty-first century

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This article thinks through how registers of ‘the real’ have operated in working-class representations, from social realism (in film, theatre, drama and soap opera) to reality television and appeals to ‘authenticity’ in publicity and marketing materials for cultural products purporting to represent the working class. It argues that the ubiquity of ‘the real’ in representations of working-class experience is one way in which Fisher’s ‘capitalist realism’ asserts itself. The article argues that experiments with form and intertextuality can offer ‘glimmers’ through which slippages in claims to absolute reality are revealed. It explores the possibility for such ‘glimmers’ in experimentations with Andrea Dunbar’s work in the twenty-first century, reasserting the importance of form in dismantling the neo-liberal political project.

Keywords: Andrea Dunbar; capitalist realism; class; glimmers; poverty porn; realism

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 0000000419368024University of Exeter

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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