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Louisa Berry

Doctor of Philosophy, (English)
Study Completed: 2020
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
The World Inverted: Chuck Palahniuk's fiction as a challenge to contemporary capitalism

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

In the twenty-first century, the logic of neoliberal capitalism shapes not only institutions and businesses, but the belief systems and actions of its human subjects. Being so pervasive that it appears as 'common-sense', neoliberal logic has proven very difficult to successfully contest. Ms Berry explored the potential for literary fiction to challenge neoliberal capitalism. She investigated the novels of contemporary American writer Chuck Palahniuk, reading them alongside Marxist and neoliberal theory. She found that the capacity for the novels to challenge neoliberal logic lies largely in the way they undermine aspects of neoliberalism that are normalised; this disrupts the reader's understanding of neoliberalism as inevitable. Ms Berry's findings highlight that literary fiction is an effective vehicle with which to critique and contest capitalism.

Dr Mary Paul
Dr Nicholas Holm