WCSA member and current Elections Chair Matti Ron has won the Literary London Society prize for best paper presented by a postgraduate researcher at their 2019 conference.
Ron’s paper ‘Zadie Smith’s and James Kelman’s counter-narratives of working-class (de)composition in post-industrial London’ stood out to judges, and received the following feedback:
A lively and sharp-sighted account which developed an innovative approach to Smith and Kelman’s sounding out of the death of the working-class political subject. This evaluative enquiry is additionally prescient during times ‘after Brexit’ when questions of race, ethnonationalism, and the ‘nativist instrumentalisation’ of class are uppermost in public and political discourse.
The focus on ‘lost radicalism’ is a fascinating topic – one that is intently cross-disciplinary in its attention to tracing ‘existential angst’, detachment and destitution within British society. There is a value in this work and the way it traces the attempt to build counter-narrative to ‘nativist notions of class’ in post-crisis times (now post- post- crisis!). I was convinced by the argument that such a process of ‘constructive deconstruction’ also has a role in identifying new forms of class solidarity, affiliation and self-definition.
Congrats to Matti!