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Underclass And Its Representation In The Novel Trainspotting

1681 words - 7 pages

Palacký UniversityFaculty of PhilosophyEnglish PhilologyUnderclass and Its Representation In the Novel TrainspottingKAA/SK00Ondřej Andrle11th May 2014The attempt of this essay is to delve into the circumstances which led to creating the novel. In particular, I will take a look into the political and social issues of the Great Britain during the 80's era. The social reality of the working class has become one of the main issues of the roaring debates in Britain under the Conservative Government at the end of the 80's. Many have argued about the emergence of a new class, characterised by people who suddenly find themselves as outcasts of the society. It is still a part of an unresolved question how this constantly growing group of impoverished people could be easily identified and what the features of this group should be. The theme of this so-called underclass was popularised by Trainspotting, as well as other groups. This particular novel deals with irresponsible and careless drug addicts and became a cult for the British youth. Trainspotting focuses on the portrayal of youth underclass as a specific subculture and social exclusion as a matter of free will. Although the concept of underclass is rather problematic, there is enough evidence to suggest the existence of a certain marginalized social class that shares several characteristics. In underclass books, the rise of underclass is accompanied by the loss of working class traditions and values, which is the result of changes in the labour market. In the last few decades, as the gap between the economically well off and the most disadvantaged widened, the questions surrounding all different forms of inequality have taken up central stage in social, political and economical spheres. The main concerns are the possible causes of poverty and the ways it should be dealt with. Opinions on this matter differ dramatically, ranging from some conservative views pointing to deviant behaviour and unwillingness to become fully active members of society, to those views that look for causes of economic disadvantage in social change and structure. In Britain, this new "class" started forming in the 80's under the Conservative programme of Margaret Thatcher's government, whose political tendencies revolved around the idea that "there is no such thing as society; there are only individual men and women and there are families" (Jones 97). Her instincts were towards individualism, mass consumerism and competitiveness, and her project focused on strengthening the powers of central government and supporting private enterprise at the expense of large national companies and trade unions. The idea was to reduce the expenditures on industry and invest in the more profitable and flexible area, the service sector. Thus, the collapse of Britain's manufacturing base followed and thousands of workers lost their jobs. Although the rate of unemployment rose due to the decline in manufacturing jobs, the commitment to...

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