Talking about feminism: reconciling fragmented narratives with the feminist research frame

Abrams, L. (2018) Talking about feminism: reconciling fragmented narratives with the feminist research frame. In: Srigley, K., Zembrzycki, S. and Iacovetta, F. (eds.) Beyond Women's Words: Feminisms and the Practices of Oral History in the Twenty-First Century. Routledge: Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY, pp. 81-94. ISBN 9780815357681 (doi:10.4324/9781351123822)

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For women in the Western world, the quest for the autonomous self is closely bound up with the advent of feminism of the so-called second wave.1 The notion of the essentialist self, contained within the biological/reproductive body of woman, has been seen as particularly debilitating to a woman’s ability to create a unique, differentiated personhood or subjectivity that draws on her authentic experience. Women’s liberation from this framework has thus been a key component of feminist writing and campaigning. Driven by a commitment to “research by, about, and for women,” the concept that women’s experiences could be legitimated by listening to their stories, and using them to inform understandings of women’s position in society, became a plank of the emancipation struggle and ongoing project of feminist scholarship.2 It is a circular reinforcing process-each voice or story contributes to an alternative historical narrative for other women, who then feel freer to narrate their own subjective experiences liberated from dominant norms and expectations. Given the recent outpouring of research on feminist activism, which tends to privilege the voices of those who can clearly situate themselves within the organized movement, opening up a discussion about the meaning of feminism to those who watched it from the sidelines is both timely and important.3 Talking about feminism in all its manifestations both with those who positively identify with the movement and those who had little or no active association with it produces a range of memory narratives that broaden and deepen understandings of the past as it was lived and interpreted. It also reminds us that feminist oral history should be open to counter and alternative narratives. © 2018 selection and editorial matter, Katrina Srigley, Stacey Zembrzycki, and Franca Iacovetta; individual chapters, the contributors.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Abrams, Professor Lynn
Authors: Abrams, L.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > History

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