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Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918-1939The Interwar Period$
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Catherine Clay, Maria DiCenzo, Barbara Green, and Fiona Hackney

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474412537

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474412537.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 17 September 2021

Women’s Organisations and Communities of Interest: Introduction

Women’s Organisations and Communities of Interest: Introduction

(p.405) Women’s Organisations and Communities of Interest: Introduction
Women's Periodicals and Print Culture in Britain, 1918-1939

Maria DiCenzo

Edinburgh University Press

THE INTERWAR PERIOD saw the proliferation of women’s organisations – voluntary, popular, non-political, party- and faith-based – some of which engaged with feminist discourses and others that deliberately avoided these associations, defining and generating a new array of women-defined collective identities.1 The work of feminist historians in recent decades has been instrumental in redefining the parameters of the women’s movement to include the efforts of non-feminist organisations as advocates for women’s rights. Maggie Andrews captures this tendency in the phrase ‘the acceptable face of feminism’ in her groundbreaking study of the Women’s Institute as a social movement, challenging the ‘jam and Jerusalem’ image so often attributed to these forms of women’s associational culture (1997). Recently Karen Hunt and June Hannam have argued for ‘a new archeology of “women’s politics”’ as a way to reframe and arrive at a more nuanced understanding of the participation and role of women in various areas of public life (2013). While many of the periodicals showcased in this section were not overtly feminist, they certainly engaged in women’s politics and forms of advocacy in this broader sense, and they did so across the political spectrum. It is important to recognise why it might have been more appealing and even more practical for organisations to distance themselves from feminism, particularly in a climate of hostile reaction. As DiCenzo and Eustance note in the previous Part, the ‘demise’ school of interwar history has not always fully recognised the adversarial conditions women faced and the resistance with which their demands were met....

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