본문 바로가기
  • Home

Representation of Council Estates and Black Community in Top Boy

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2022, 35(3), pp.5-32
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama
  • Received : November 1, 2022
  • Accepted : December 8, 2022
  • Published : December 31, 2022

KIM, YOO 1

1성균관대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Council estates, the multi-storey tower blocks in Britain, were built in the early 20th century in order to improve housing affordability for the low-income inner-city working class. Throughout the post-war era, however, they have degenerated into the poorest and the most marginalized communities. Dominant media discourses which stigmatize council estates, highlight the sensational behaviors of the estates residents, eliminating their ‘quotidian’ experience and thus reducing the lived realities of the community to a dangerous, violent space. Top Boy, a British television drama series set in the housing estates of East London, moves beyond the generic conventions of crime drama and entails a piquant critique of the British society in the 21st century. The series focuses on the social inequalities and economic deprivation of the black community in the social welfare blind spots. This paper understands Top Boy as a challenge to the existing council estates discourses and evaluates the way the series attempts to represent the most underprivileged space in the interactions of class tension, racism and neo-liberalism. The paper examines the council estates as class-segregated and racialised space, focusing on cinematography in Top Boy. It also explores the way the quotidian experiences in the estates are reinstated through the narrative of Ra’Nell, a black teenager, and demonstrates how Top Boy revises the moralistic, behavioural aspects of the existing council estates discourses. Finally, the paper discloses how community solidarity in Top Boy challenges the established discourses which reduce the complex realities of the council estates to a simple tale of social dysfunction.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.