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‘The Women’s Liberation Movement and the Intractable Problem of Class, c. 1968 – c. 1979’.

STEVENSON, GEORGE,STUART,MICHAEL (2016) ‘The Women’s Liberation Movement and the Intractable Problem of Class, c. 1968 – c. 1979’. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis focuses on the voices, activism and experiences of working-class women engaged with the Women’s Movement between 1968 and 1979. It explores their interactions with feminism and class politics and places particular emphasis on their role in the Women’s Liberation Movement and the productive and reproductive class struggles in the period. This approach defines the WLM as a part of the wider Women’s Movement, alongside women’s industrial and community conflicts. It argues that contemporary accounts seeking to recover the significance of ‘sisterhood’ or prioritise alternative identities in the movement often do so at the expense of its working-class participants and underplay the significance of ‘class’ in the political identities of middle-class liberationists. It asserts therefore that that the integration of working-class women and class politics into the story of the 1970s Women’s Movement requires a reconsideration of the existing narratives of the WLM. In developing this perspective, it extricates the tension between the foundational and ideological importance of class and class politics at individual, regional and national levels of the WLM in Britain on the one hand and the intractable problems that class posed within and around the movement on the other. In so doing, it illustrates how both structural and cultural forms of class analysis can offer complementary insights into women’s identity construction and political consciousness, with particular validity not only for social and political movements but also for the post-war period more widely.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Feminism; Class; Class Analysis; 1970s; Britain; Women's Movement; Race; Identity; Oral History
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > History, Department of
Thesis Date:2016
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Apr 2016 11:11

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