I was raised in Newcastle-under-Lyme, read English Language and Literature at Oxford University, graduating in 2006, before going on to complete an MLitt in Film Journalism (with Film Theory) at Glasgow University in 2008. After working as a freelance culture journalist and online editor in the art-publishing sector, whilst preparing a research project on Deleuzean affects and anti-Francoist aesthetic subversion in 1970s Spanish alternative cinema, I then briefly pursued part-time MPhil/DPhil research in post-Communist Polish cinema and temporality before training to be, and working as, a support worker and project co-ordinator for 3 years in London. In 2016 I switched my primary academic focus back towards Literature and completed an MA in English Literature at Keele.
During my Masters I looked to develop a number of new critical lines, including mapping Deleuzean-inflected ontologies of Braidotti and Jane Bennett into literary theory in order to develop the category of ‘Deleuzean enchanted-realist ecocriticism’. My dissertation read several works of contemporary literature concerned with working-class milieus, including Lisa Blower’s Sitting Ducks, Anthony Cartwright’s Iron Towns, and Martin Amis’ Lionel Asbo, through a framework which rethought the later-work of Raymond Williams within a post-Derridean Haunt-ology to explore literary accounts of class-based ‘residual’ and ‘emergent’ practices. This paid particular attention to the work of Mark Fisher, as well as readings of industrial ruins and modernist architecturally-embodied imaginaries.
I am now pursuing a PhD in Contemporary English Literature at the same institution, supervised by Nicholas Bentley and Ceri Morgan. This PhD research is a continuation and expansion, in scope and theoretical depth, of my Masters Dissertation work on the Contemporary Working Class in literature.
Research and scholarship
My research examines representations and presence of working-class subjectivities within contemporary British Literature (post 2000, and with particular reference to post-2008 Literature). Chapters include: Work and Capital; Creativity and Alternative Practices; History/Hauntology; Depictions of the working-class within media and institutional forms, and reproductions/subversions of working-class personae; Places and psychogeographies. Primary texts at this stage include those by Jon McGregor, Ross Raisin, Lisa Blower, Sunjeev Sahotta, as well as a range of ‘canonical’ and critically surveyed works by the likes of Monica Ali, James Kelman, Irvine Welsh and Zadie Smith; it will also pay attention to the recent experimental literary and mixed fiction-factual work , centering around place and subcultures, published by such independent presses as Salt, Dodo Ink and Dead Ink.
It seeks to consider class as constituted by memories, positions, cultural sediments and economic transitions as well as partially permeable and fungible, thus taking in a variety of class-subjectivities around work, creativity, gender, ethnicity and political emancipation. The study explores ethics of representation (after Emmanuel Levinas, and Derek Attridge on literature’s ‘peculiar’ event, as well as Nicholas Royle’s ‘veering’) and accounts of agency within a broadly (post)post structuralist framework which seeks to fulfil David Punter’s claim for the ‘haunt’ as the ‘most material’ ways of seeing things within contemporary space. It looks to do so through an approach that fuses work on ‘difference’ and liminality with a cultural materialist framework to perceive class-subjects in relation to the spatialtemporal post-crash austerity environment - along with a perceived wider-crisis within neoliberalism- and discover new equivalents of Ian Haywood’s archetypical ‘working-class realism’. It also draws upon my earlier Masters-study readings of the grotesque and collectively subversive in the light of the liminal relationship between ‘haunting’ and ‘possession’ in spectral materiality and subjectivities. This study specifically engages with the most contemporary treatments of working-class literary subjectivity, including the post-Williamsian postcolonial frame of Sonali Perera (2014) , John Lavelle’s post-Foucaultian reading of working-class literature (2014) and the anti-work autonomist literary subjectivities explored by Roberto del Valle Alcala (2016), among others.
Following sociological work done by Isobel Tyler, Beverley Skeggs and Lisa Mckenzie my study examines accounts of media representations around ‘respectability’, ‘revolt’ and abjection in relation to variants of autonomism and notions of widespread cross-class precariaty, before finding corollaries within literature. It also draws upon Anoop Nayak, Vik Loveday and other sociological theorists of nostalgia and collective temporality in relation to the practice of memories –individual and communal- around working-classhood and those fantasies available within the community or idioculture. Spatially, the study examines estates literature, ‘edgelands’ , villages and seasides as well as the urban through the work done around psychogeography by Tina Richardson in her schizocartographical accounts after Guattari and Doreen Massey’s Soja/Deleuze-inflected work on ‘place’, Christopher Collier on autonomist influenced psychogeographical practices and Kim Duff’s literary-studies accounts of post-Thatcherite textual spaces/places.
I am keen to hear from anyone interested in collaborating, whether fellow English-Literature researchers or those outside of Literary Studies looking to engage in interdisciplinary work, especially around the areas of psychogeography, representations of the working-class in contemporary culture or relationships between institutions (social services, educational institutions, benefit agencies) and the working-class, as well as work around the creation of new spaces through art or emergent practices and the formation of new political imaginaries. I would also be interested in codeveloping university- community projects around place and working-class themed storytelling, place-writing and showcasing of community-work as well as activism.
Book Chapter on ‘Psychogeography as a mode of working-class resistance within Iron Towns’ for Working Class and Place within Literature critical compilation. Publication TBC
Thesis: ‘Class, Raymond Williams and the Empty Coffin': Residual and Emergent Practices in working-class literature with reference to the novels Sitting Ducks, Lionel Asbo and Iron Towns (2017). Draft available on https://keele.academia.edu/MartinGoodhead
Conference and Workshop Presentations
April 2019. 'Psychogeography as oppositional practice within Anthony Cartwright’s Iron Towns'. Raymond Williams Society Conference (Manchester) (TBC).
November 2018. ‘Stylistic Ideology and the Placing of post-Industrial Class Subjects within Even the Dogs’. Placing Class within the Contemporary Conference (Keele University)
July 2018. ‘Readings of working-class homelessness within Ross Raisin's Waterline (2011), as stasis, refusal and resistant mobility’ BACLS (British Association of Contemporary Literary Studies) conference (Loughborough University)