Finding their anger in consciousness-raising
hese early experiences became potent reasons to become a feminist
activist only when shared with a small group of like-minded
women. These small groups began to emerge in the late 1960s when
women would meet to discuss the ways in which they felt oppressed by
society. As in the USA and Europe, CR groups became the key entrée
for most women who ‘joined’ the WLM in Scotland in the 1970s. Little
is known about how these groups were organised and this chapter sheds
light on to this process, describing the roots
Along with the suffrage campaign, women's liberation activism is one of the most renowned aspects of women's political history. The women's liberation movement (WLM) has often been linked with the 'big city'. This is the first book-length account of the women's liberation movement in Scotland, which charts the origins and development of this important social movement of the post-1945 period. In doing so, it reveals the inventiveness and fearlessness of feminist activism, while also pointing towards the importance of considering the movement from the local and grassroots perspectives. This book has two central arguments. First, it presses for a more representative historiography in which material from other places outside of the large women's liberation centres are included. Second, it highlights that case studies not only enrich our knowledge about women's liberation but they also challenge the way the British movement has been portrayed by both participants and historians. The book commences with contextualising the subject and summarising recent research into the movement in the United Kingdom. It looks at the roots of the movement by offering portrayals of the women who went on to form women's liberation groups in Scotland. The book then analyses the phenomenon of 'consciousness-raising' (CR) and the part it had to play in the WLM's development. The focus then moves to exploring where, when and why women's liberation groups emerged. The campaigns taken up by the WLM were to defend abortion rights and campaign against violence against women.
proclaimed itself to be practical
rather than theoretical and ‘dismissed the idea of consciousness-raising as
a bit sort of navel gazing’.16 Jane admitted though that, although it was
not acknowledged, the group did in fact engage in consciousness-raising
activity. Jane felt a conflict between theoretical critiques of the nuclear
family and her need to bring up her children in the best way she could.
Sticking to very practical campaigns, the group declined to talk about sex
and were scornful about the influential pamphlet The Myth of the Vaginal
Orgasm: ‘it seemed … kind
phenomenon of ‘consciousness-raising’ (CR) and the part it
had to play in the WLM’s development. Crucial to this chapter is a consideration of how feminists of the 1970s viewed this process and how they
defined it. It also illustrates that CR groups were incredibly effective in
recruiting new women and also in introducing complex feminist theories.
The desire to campaign is the focus of Chapter 4 where the impact of
the groups in a local context is considered. Where, when and why women’s
liberation groups emerged form central themes for this chapter. The local
Practical consciousness knowledge, consciousness raising, the natural attitude and the social construction of reasonable/unreasonable
Catholic Church had a ‘moral monopoly’ (Inglis 1998 ), which was subsequently seriously dented by a succession of scandals. This change of mood was summed up by Varadkar: ‘In the past the Catholic Church had too much dominance in our society’ (Varadkar quoted in Bashir 2018 ). This meant a shift in the conditions of possibility, which made gay marriage reasonable, thus possible.
Practical consciousness and discursive consciousness: consciousness-raising
While practical consciousness is enabling (power-to), its tacit nature has the potential to legitimize 2-D
Beyond the Happening uncovers the heterogeneous, uniquely interdisciplinary performance-based works that emerged in the aftermath of the early Happenings. Although by the mid-1960s Happenings were widely declared outmoded or even ‘dead’, this book shows how multiple practitioners continued to work with the form during the late 1960s and 1970s, pushing it into complex studies of interpersonal communication that drew on, but also contested, contemporary sociology and psychology. Focusing on Allan Kaprow, Marta Minujín, Carolee Schneemann and Lea Lublin, it charts how they revised and retooled the premises of the Happening. The resulting performances directly contributed to the wider discourse of communication studies, as it intersected with the politics of countercultural dropout, alternative pedagogies, soft diplomacy, cybernetics, antipsychiatry, sociological art and feminist consciousness raising. The network of activity generated through these interactions was inherently international, as artists sought to analyse the power dynamics involved in creating collaborative works in an increasingly globalised world. Beyond the Happening will be of interest to art historians engaged with performance practice after 1960, particularly in the USA, Europe and Latin America, and with the cross-fertilisation uniting Happenings, media art, body art, feminist art, conceptualism, photography film and video.
This chapter provides a critical investigation of the concepts of ‘sexism’
and ‘patriarchy’ that emerged from ‘consciousness-raising groups’ in the
late 1960s. It finds that ‘sexism’ remains a useful part of feminist
vocabulary, but that it is sometimes misused. The chapter argues that
‘patriarchy’ is a more fruitful concept, but that it too must be handled
with care. It highlights the concept’s critique of male ‘normality’, its
expanded notion of ‘the political’ and its ability to ‘join the dots’ to
expose the interconnected nature of apparently unrelated aspects of male
power. The chapter ends with a brief discussion of newer terms such as
‘mansplaining’, and a general assessment of the political role of feminist
Printing Terror places horror comics of the mid-twentieth century in dialogue with the anxieties of their age. It rejects the narrative of horror comics as inherently and necessarily subversive and explores, instead, the ways in which these texts manifest white male fears over America’s changing sociological landscape. It examines two eras: the pre-CCA period of the 1940s and 1950s, and the post-CCA era to 1975. The authors examine each of these periods through the lenses of war, gender, and race, demonstrating that horror comics are centred upon white male victimhood and the monstrosity of the gendered and/or racialised other. It is of interest to scholars of horror, comics studies, and American history. It is suitably accessible to be used in undergraduate classes.
In its contributions to the study of material social differences, queer theoretical writing has mostly assumed that any ideas which embody 'difference' are valuable. More than this, where it is invoked in contemporary theory, queerness is often imagined as synonymous with difference itself. This book uncovers an alternative history in queer cultural representation. Through engagement with works from a range of queer literary genres from across the long twentieth century – fin-de-siècle aestheticism, feminist speculative fiction, lesbian middle-brow writing, and the tradition of the stud file – the book elucidates a number of formal and thematic attachments to ideas that have been denigrated in queer theory for their embodiment of sameness: uselessness, normativity, reproduction and reductionism. Exploring attachments to these ideas in queer culture is also the occasion for a broader theoretical intervention: Same Old suggests, counterintuitively, that the aversion they inspire may be of a piece with how homosexuality has been denigrated in the modern West as a misguided orientation towards sameness. Combining queer cultural and literary history, sensitive close readings and detailed genealogies of theoretical concepts, Same Old encourages a fundamental rethinking of some of the defining positions in queer thought.
English radicalism has been a deep-rooted but minority tradition in the political culture since at least the seventeenth century. The central aim of this book is to examine, in historical and political context, a range of key events and individuals that exemplify English radicalism in the twentieth century. This analysis is preceded by defining precisely what has constituted this tradition; and by the main outline of the development of the tradition from the Civil War to the end of the nineteenth century. Three of the main currents of English radicalism in the twentieth century have been the labour movement, the women’s movement and the peace movement. These are discussed in some detail, as a framework for the detailed consideration of ten key representative figures of the tradition in the twentieth century: Bertrand Russell, Sylvia Pankhurst, Ellen Wilkinson, George Orwell, E.P. Thompson, Michael Foot, Joan Maynard, Stuart Hall, Tony Benn and Nicolas Walter. The question of ‘agency’ – of how to bring about radical change in a predominantly conservative society and culture – has been a fundamental issue for English radicals. It is argued that, in the twentieth century, many of the important achievements in progressive politics have taken place in and through extra-parliamentary movements, as well as through formal political parties and organisations – the Labour Party and other socialist organisations – and on occasion, through libertarian and anarchist politics. The final chapter considers the continuing relevance of this political tradition in the early twenty-first century, and reviews its challenges and prospects.