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Real politik or real politics? Working-class lesbians' political 'awareness' and activism

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Yvette Taylor


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This article is based upon my PhD research 'Working-class lesbians: classed in a classless climate', (2001-2004) which examined the significance of class and sexuality in the lives of women who self-identified themselves as working-class and lesbian. Here I look specifically at the women's political 'awareness' and activism, within a changing political climate that promotes notions of 'classless', yet in which classed conflict, processes, activism and responses remain apparent. I interconnect the inequalities of class and sexuality in the sphere of citizenship - both sexual and otherwise - looking at Section 2a/28 as a particular site of contested sexual citizenship, yet where the significance of class was apparent in many ways. For example, the economic resources mobilised by anti-repeat protestors were highly relevant, as was the ownership of social connections and forms of capital, which bestowed confidence and entitlement [Skeggs, Beverly (1995). Women's Studies in the 1990's. Entitlement Cultures and Institutional Constraints. Women Studies International Fortan, 18(4): 475-485]. This, I suggest, was utilised and actively mobilised by both pro- and anti-repeal protesters, whose members, as potential and actual sexual citizens were able to occupy and argue for social positions legitimated as 'normal', as 'respectable'-and in doing so made their classed investments and forms of protest apparent. I point to the many ways that interviewees were politically aware-they had opinions and beliefs to express, especially around 'past' and present class struggles, but rarely did these achieve political credibility; rarely were their concerns easily assimilable or respectably mainstream. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Taylor Y

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Women's Studies International Forum

Year: 2005

Volume: 28

Issue: 6

Pages: 484-494

ISSN (print): 0277-5395

ISSN (electronic): 1879-243X


DOI: 10.1016/j.wsif.2005.09.002


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