Purpose, power and profit in feminist publishing: an introduction

Jolly, Margaretta (2021) Purpose, power and profit in feminist publishing: an introduction. Women: a cultural review, 32 (3-4). pp. 227-247. ISSN 0957-4042

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Introducing a special issue about the business aspects of feminist and women’s movement publishing, this article surveys the perennial tensions between cultural and political aims and the economic models necessary for sustainable operation. Addressing a range of beloved periodicals and book publishing ventures, including Spare Rib, Ms, Red Rag, Virago, Des Femmes, Honno, Sheba, Bogle L’Ouverture, Onlywomen Outwrite, The F-Word, The Vagenda, Feminist Frequency, Feministing, The Establishment, Crunk Feminist Collective and Cassava Republic Press, I identify a shared scene of hopeful activist enterprise within a complex ecology embracing the market, public funding, philanthropy as well as the feminist ‘gift economy’ of voluntary work and bartering. I argue that, where ventures failed, they nevertheless generally acted as socially responsible businesses, producing publications with a long tail of value which includes and exceeds the economic. I apply this lens to the case of Women: A Cultural Review itself, revealing its former incarnation as a feminist arts magazine Women’s Review, which ran from 1985 to 1987, and the way its meaning, purpose and value has been preserved under new ownership. This raises general questions about the business of academic publishing, university markets and the paradoxes of platforms which enable protest about the terms of their production.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is published as part of the project The Business of Women’s Words: Purpose and Profit in Feminist Publishing, for which Margaretta Jolly is Principal Investigator. Thanks to our partner The British Library and The Leverhulme Trust for funding.
Keywords: Feminism, Value, Cultural Industry, Journals, Academic publishing, Women: A Cultural Review, Feminist Review
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Film and Music > Media and Film
Research Centres and Groups: Centre for Life History and Life Writing Research
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2021 07:30
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2022 12:31
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/101221

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
The business of women's words: Purpose and profit in feminist publishingG2179LEVERHULME TRUSTRPG-2017-218