The feelings behind the slogans: abortion campaigning and feminist mood-work circa 1979

Jolly, Margaretta (2014) The feelings behind the slogans: abortion campaigning and feminist mood-work circa 1979. New Formations, 82 (1). pp. 100-113. ISSN 0950-2378

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Abstract

Where does public mood live? How can it be stimulated and how is it apprehended? In this essay I explore these questions by considering the so-called 'winter of discontent' at the end of 1978, a set-piece in British history-telling in which public dissatisfaction with trade union power supposedly propelled the election victory of the Conservative Party led by Margaret Thatcher in 1979. Ben Highmore suggests this 'mooding' underplays the pleasures and excitements of that period to tell a story of the failure of the left. This essay concurs, by tracing feminist campaigns over abortion rights which came to prominence during that same year, in which 'discontent' expressed a positive trajectory of ascendant reproductive control. Drawing on new oral history materials, I recast an emphasis on class, but also reveal tensions within the Women's Liberation Movement over the place and nature of emotion, showing how some supporters of abortion rights had to wrestle with their own conflicted responses, often in silence. I conclude by considering the status of minority social movements as mood-measurers.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Abortion campaigns, Women’s Liberation Movement, Oral History, Emotion, Mood, 1979
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0511 Affection. Feeling. Emotion
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D016 Methodology- General works > D016.14 Oral history
D History General and Old World > DA History of Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HQ The Family. Marriage. Women > HQ1101 Women. Feminism
Depositing User: Margaretta Jolly
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2015 08:10
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 12:02
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/50586

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