Rebecca: Class, Politics and Family

  • Carly Guest
Part of the Citizenship, Gender and Diversity book series (FEMCIT)


In this chapter, Guest introduces Rebecca, whose identification with the sights, sounds and politics of 1980s Britain, in particular the 1984–1985 miners’ strikes, provides the foundation for her story of becoming feminist. In Rebecca’s memories of this period, her mother comes to the fore as the political actor. This chapter considers the various ways Rebecca draws connections between her mother’s feminism and her own and so acknowledges the purchase that generational narratives have for the women interviewed. However, through a close reading of Rebecca’s story, it always challenges the often linear and progressive temporalities generational narratives can rely upon. It offers a new means of thinking about the generational, familial and maternal as opening up rather than foreclosing possibilities for engagement with feminism’s pasts.


Political Identity Feminist Politics Feminist Identity Educational Choice Daughter Relationship 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aikau, Hokulani K., Karla A. Erickson, and Jennifer L. Pierce. 2007. Feminist Waves, Feminist Generations: Life Stories from the Academy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  2. Aronson, Pamela. 2003. Feminists or “Postfeminists”? Young Women’s Attitudes Toward Feminism and Gender Relations. Gender & Society 17(6): 903–922.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bailey, Cathryn. 1997. Making Waves and Drawing Lines: The Politics of Defining the Vicissitudes of Feminism. Hypatia 12(3): 17–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barthes, Roland. 1981. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  5. Bathmaker, Ann-Marie. 2003. The Expansion of Higher Education: A Consideration of Control, Funding and Quality. In Education Studies. Essential Issues, ed. Steve Barlett and Diana Burton, 169–189. London: Sage.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Beckwith, Karen. 1998. Collective Identities of Class and Gender: Working-Class Women in the Pittston Coal Strike. Political Psychology 19(1): 147–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brown, Wendy. 1995. States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Budgeon, Shelley. 2001. Emergent Feminist (?) Identities Young Women and the Practice of Micropolitics. European Journal of Women’s Studies 8(1): 7–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. ———. 2011. Third Wave Feminism and the Politics of Gender in Late Modernity. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  10. Evans, Mary. 1982. In Praise of Theory: The Case for Women’s Studies. Feminist Review 10(Spring): 61–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. ———. 1990. The Problem of Gender for Women’s Studies. Women’s Studies International Forum 13(5): 457–462.Google Scholar
  12. Falkingham, Jane. 1987. Who are the Baby Boomers? A Demographic Profile. In Baby Boomers: Ageing in the 21st Century, ed. Maria Evandrou, 15–40. London: Age Concern.Google Scholar
  13. Finch, Janet. 2007. Displaying Families. Sociology 41(1): 65–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. ———. 2015. Personal Life, Young Women and Higher Education: A Relational Approach to Student and Graduate Experiences. London: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  15. Gabb, Jacqui. 2010. Home Truths: Ethical Issues in Family Research. Qualitative Research 10(4): 461–478.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Giddens, Anthony. 1991. Modernity and Self-Identity: Self and Society in the Late Modern Age. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  17. ———. 1998. Uneven developments—Women’s Studies in Higher Education in the 1990s. In Surviving the Academy: Feminist Perspectives, ed. Danusia Malina and Sian Maslin-Prothero, 136–145. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
  18. Harkin, James, and Julia Huber. 2004. Eternal Youths: How the Baby Boomers are having Their Time Again. London: Demos.Google Scholar
  19. ———. 2006. The Life and Times of Academic Feminism. In Handbook of Gender and Women’s Studies, eds. Kathy Davies, Mary Evans, and Judith Lorber, 13–34. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 2011. Why Stories Matter: The Political Grammar of Feminist Theory. Durham and London: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Henry, Astrid. 2004. Not My Mother’s Sister: Generational Conflict and Third-Wave Feminism. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Hirsch, Marianne. 1989. The Mother/Daughter Plot: Narrative, Psychoanalysis, Feminism. Indiana: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  23. ———. 1997. Family Frames: Photography, Narrative, and Postmemory. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  24. Howie, Gillian. 2010. Feminist Histories: Conflict, Coalitions and the Maternal Order. Studies in the Maternal 2(1): 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Irigaray, Luce. 1981. And the One Doesn’t Stir without the Other. Trans. Hélène Wenzel. Signs 7(1): 60–67.Google Scholar
  26. Jowett, Madeleine. 2004. ‘I Don’t See Feminists as You See Feminists’: Young Women Negotiating Feminism in Contemporary Britain. In All About the Girl: Culture, Power and Identity, ed. Anita Harris, 91–100. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  27. Kelliher, Diarmaid. 2014. Solidarity and Sexuality: Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners 1984–5. History Workshop Journal 77(1): 240–262.Google Scholar
  28. ———. 2015. The 1984-5 Miners’ Strike and the Spirit of Solidarity. Soundings: A Journal of Politics and Culture 60(1): 118–129.Google Scholar
  29. Kuhn, Annette. 2002. Family Secrets: Acts of Memory and Imagination, 2nd ed. London: Verso.Google Scholar
  30. Lawler, Steph. 1999. ‘Getting Out and Getting Away’: Women’s Narratives of Class Mobility. Feminist Review 63(1): 3–24.Google Scholar
  31. ———. 2000. Mothering the Self: Mothers, Daughters, Subjects. London: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  32. Levin, Amy K. 2007. Questions for a New Century: Women’s Studies and Integrative Learning. College Park, MD: National Women’s Studies Association.Google Scholar
  33. Mason, Jennifer. 2008. Tangible Affinities and the Real Life Fascination of Kinship. Sociology 42(1): 29–45.Google Scholar
  34. ——— 2011. Knowing the in/tangible. Realities working paper #17, Morgan Centre, University of Manchester.Google Scholar
  35. Misztal, Barbara. 2003. Theories of Social Remembering. New York: McGraw-Hill Education.Google Scholar
  36. Phillipson, Chris, Rebecca Leach, Annemarie Money, and Simon Biggs. 2008. Social and Cultural Constructions of Ageing: The Case of the Baby Boomers. Sociological Research Online 13(3): 5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Richardson, Diane, and Victoria Robinson. 1994. Theorizing Women’s Studies Gender Studies and Masculinity: The Politics of Naming. European Journal of Women’s Studies 1(1): 11–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Robbins, Lionel Robbins Baron. 1963. Higher Education: Report of the Committee Appointed by the Prime Minister Under the Chairmanship of Lord Robbins, 1961–1963. London: HM Stationery Office.Google Scholar
  39. Roof, Judith. 1997. Generational Differences; Or, the Fear of a Barren History. In Generations: Academic Feminists in Dialogue, ed. Devoney Looser and E. Ann Kaplan, 69–87. Minneapolis and London: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  40. ———. 2009. Haunting in an Age of Individualization: Subjectivity, Relationality and the Traces of the Lives of Others. European Societies 11(3): 411–430.Google Scholar
  41. Savage, Mike. 2007. Changing Social Class Identities in Post-War Britain: Perspectives from Mass-Observation. Sociological Research Online 12(3): 6.Google Scholar
  42. ———. 2015. Social Class in the 21st Century. London: Penguin UK.Google Scholar
  43. Scharff, Christina. 2009. Young Women’s Dis-identification with Feminism: Negotiating Heteronormativity, Neoliberalism and Difference. London School of Economics and Political Science Ph.D. thesis.Google Scholar
  44. ———. 2011a. ‘It is a Colour Thing and a Status Thing, rather than a Gender Thing’: Negotiating Difference in Talk about Feminism. Feminism & Psychology 21(4): 458–476.Google Scholar
  45. ———. 2011b. Disarticulating Feminism: Individualization, Neoliberalism and the Othering of ‘Muslim Women’. European Journal of Women’s Studies 18(2): 119–134.Google Scholar
  46. ———. 2013. Repudiating Feminism: Young Women in a Neoliberal World. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.Google Scholar
  47. Shaw, Monica, and Mave Mundy. 2005. Complexities of Class and Gender Relations: Recollections of Women Active in the 1984–5 Miner’s Strike. Capital & Class 29(3): 151–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Skeggs, Beverley. 1997. Formations of Class & Gender: Becoming Respectable. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  49. Sontag, Susan. 1977. On Photography. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  50. Spence, Jean, and Carol Stephenson. 2007. Female Involvement in the Miners’ Strike 1984–1985: Trajectories of Activism. Sociological Research Online 12(1).Google Scholar
  51. Spence, Jo, and Patricia Holland. 1991. Family Snaps: The Meanings of Domestic Photography. London: Virago.Google Scholar
  52. Walford, Geoffrey. 1991. The Changing Relationship between Government and Higher Education in Britain. In Prometheus Bound: The Changing Relationship between Government and Higher Education in Western Europe, ed. Neave Guy and Frans A. VanVught, 165–184. Oxford: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  53. Walkerdine, Valerie, and Luis Jimnez. 2012. Gender, Work and Community after De-Industrialisation: A Psychosocial Approach to Affect. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Wiegman, Robyn. 2000. Feminism’s Apocalyptic Futures. New Literary History 31(4): 805–825.Google Scholar
  55. ———. 2002. Academic Feminism Against Itself. Nwsa Journal 14(2): 18–34.Google Scholar
  56. Withers, Deborah M. 2014. Strategic Affinities: Historiography and Epistemology in Contemporary Feminist Knowledge Politics. European Journal of Women’s Studies 22(2): 129–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Zalewski, Marysia. 2003. Is Women’s Studies Dead? Journal of International Women’s Studies 4(2): 117–133.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carly Guest
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Criminology and SociologyMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK

Personalised recommendations