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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Catching up on journal literature and chapters XIII

More from Lucy Delap, Ben Griffin, Abigail Wills, The Politics of Domestic Authority in Britain since 1800 (Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2009),  
Megan Doolittle, 'Fatherhood and Family Shame: Masculinity, Welfare and the Workhouse in late Nineteenth-Century England' pp 84-108, which is really useful on the instability of working-class male identity and authority within the family, possibly increasing with developing state/voluntary  interventions in late C19th. The humiliation of the rituals around entering the workhouse - in fact this was fairly small % of population but may have been effectively deterrent? (wonder if vaccination resistance fits in here)
Deborah Thom, '"Beating children is wrong": Domestic Life, Psychological Thinking and the Permissive Turn' pp 261-283 - mentions that Susan Isaacs and Mary Chadwick refer to potential dangerous sexual arousal of spanking as punishment.

Lesley Hoggart, 'The campaign for birth control in Britain in the 1920s', in Anne Digby and John Stewart, Gender, Health and Welfare (1996), which is largely about the Workers' Birth Control Group and about which I was just a shade iffy - yes, there was a maternalist and socialist slant to their work and it wasn't a feminist campaign by the standards of late C20th ideas of feminist politics of reproduction perhaps, but my own feeling is that there was a certain amount of finding strategic rhetorics, e.g. maternal health, by which to promote b-c (though I think this might also read interestingly side by side with the Brooke article about Dora Russell and the modern female body). I certainly wouldn't concur that the 1930 Ministry of Health circular was what the WBCG wanted, because its provisions were so minimal and restrictive. However, it was an important symbolic victory.

Laura Tabili, '"Women of a Very Low Type": Crossing Racial Boundaries in Imperial Britain', in Laura Frader and Sonya Rose (eds), Gender and Class in Modern Europe (1996, pp. 165-190: a classic and important article about perceptions of the 'Black' (actually extremely diverse groups of Africans, Asians, etc) communities in early C20th Britain and the stigmatisation women who associated with them. They were mostly concentrated around ports and docklands - which brings in a whole lot of existing class and gender prejudices associated with those areas. Notes the invisiblity of Black/mixed race women in the debates which are all about 'Black' men and 'White' women. Indicates that prejudices were not monolithic, and within the actual communities these families were accepted.

Pamela Dale and Kate Fisher. 'Contrasting Municipal Responses to the Provision of Birth Control Services in Halifax and Exeter before 1948', Social History of Medicine, 23, 2010, pp 567-585. More on the important local dimension of the introduction of birth control services and the interests who were behind the clinic - in Exeter it was much more officially sponsored and also had significant support from local philanthropic (eugenically-inclined) ladies, but was not as much of a success as it might have been at pulling in the punters. In Halifax the clinic was very much out of the loop of power and influence and networks but was arguably more successful with its client base, to which it was very responsive (i.e. quite flexible and open to people's needs rather than imposing a model). 
This is probably not entirely connected to this, but I have been wondering (thinking about the extent to which the work on clinics, and the oral history work, indicates relative lack of take-up of the cap) about the other female methods like sponges and soluble pessaries which don't seem to be in this debate at all - it's either male methods like withdrawal or condoms, or it's the complicated and disliked cap.

Roger Davidson & Gayle Davis, 'Sexuality and the State: the Campaign for Scottish Homosexual Law Reform, 1967–80' , Contemporary British History,  2006 20:4, 533-558 - asks whether the final outcome of the campaign was anything more than a rather weak symbolic victory in the face of continuing Scottish homophobia and continuing refusal to consider that it was a problem - i.e. takes the story on from their Wolfenden article

Katherine Holden, 'Imaginary Widows: Spinsters, Marriage, and the ''Lost Generation'' in Britain after the Great War', Journal of Family History 2005 30: 388. Really good piece on the specific way that unmarried women were perceived after the Great War and the way that there was a perception (correct or not) that it was about them having been, as it were, pre-emptively widowed by the losses during the War and how that affected attitudes and policies. Has all the nuance and complexity of The Shadow of Marriage.

Women's History Review Special Issue 'Lone Mothers', Vol 20, 2011:
Pat Thane, 'Unmarried motherhood in twentieth-century England' - draws on her work on the National Council for the Unmarried Mother and Her Child and really interesting on a body which took up this very unpopular cause and agitated around it. How relatively few unmarried mothers were bringing up their children alone - might be in stable cohabitation but unable to marry, or child was absorbed into family - changes over time esp after WWII - issues around adoption, etc.
Ginger Frost, '"Revolting to Humanity": oversights, limitations and complications of the English Legitimacy Act of 1926' - a badly devised piece of legislation. Note that the fact that cases for legitimation were heard in open court put a lot of people off (as did the complicated bureaucracy). Easier for parent/s to adopt their own illegitimate children and thus give them legal status.

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