Professor Magnus Nilsson’s new book on working class literature

The working class has always been steeped in negative stereotypes and prejudices. Although there are pervasive ideas about who a worker is. these notions rarely come from workers themselves. In literature, testimonials and narratives from working class individuals paint a very different picture of who a worker is and can be. Magnus Nilsson is Professor of Literature at Malmö University and has, together with his American colleague John Lennon, created an anthology comprised of working class literary fiction titled
Working-Class Literature(s). Nilsson hopes the book will widen the discussion on class. Class is an extremely important concept with a very long academic history. but for various reasons it has not become a hotly debated subject in today’s society Many researchers are also interested in other types of inequality such as gender, ethnicity, racialisation and so on. Although these are very important, they still differ somewhat from class inequality. Another reason that the issue of class has come to the fore could be because political debate has tended to focus on completely different things and many politicians would perhaps rather brush over economic injustices. Looking back at working class literature, we can see how the working class has changed over time. For instance, in Sweden, there has been a big shift from industrial production to service and care work. This has led to a feminisation of the working class, meaning that the working class comprises many more women now than before. Nevertheless, when we think of a worker, we often think of a man in overalls. Literature is way ahead of journalists and politicians in this regard. Through literature, we can thus get an insight into the new ways in which class is structured in society and understand its mechanisms. I believe this is imperative.

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