Talking Shop: investigating the representation of racialised identities in English workplace dramas during the neoliberal era.

Pezhman, Arzhang (2023) Talking Shop: investigating the representation of racialised identities in English workplace dramas during the neoliberal era. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The increasing intensity of late capitalist globalization’s impact on everyday life in England, not least in the increased movement of international labour, can be traced to the early 1980s following the Thatcher government’s adoption of a neoliberal economic agenda. This period has seen an influx, not only in the numbers of immigrants arriving to establish themselves here as entrepreneurs in the new economic world order, but also a new wave of playwrights of colour eager to represent themselves in the already well-established theatre traditions we have in this country. Writers such as Hanif Kureishi, Kwame Kwei-Armah and Sabrina Mahfouz have found themselves adopting a relatively recent genre of Western playwrighting, that of the workplace play, allowing them to explore the relationship between their racial heritage and the machinations of neoliberal society.

This thesis addresses the representation of the foreign Other, by the foreign Other, in English workplace plays (screen and stage) at different stages of the neoliberal era. It interrogates three dramas across this period, as well as presenting three new stage plays that depict the contemporaneous experience of the foreign Other in the neoliberal workplace. It contests the claim that early neoliberalism ‘flattened-out’ entrenched identity politics in favour of establishing the universal identity of entrepreneur, instead, causing racialised identities to rise up in more virulent forms and creating greater tensions between racial groups. It goes on to examine how, at the turn of the millennium, more established neoliberal society employed postcolonial modes of resistance, while simultaneously attempting to whitewash profound, historic racial injustices, fracturing loyalties within racial groups. Finally, it extends the analysis beyond race and class (read: neoliberalism) to include gender, and how the theory of intersectionality both highlights the multiple points of oppression women of colour experience, but also suggests possible sources of resistance to neoliberal ideology.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Nicola Veasy
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2023 12:16
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2023 12:16


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