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Gender, Bolshevism & the Popular Press in Britain, 1916-1921

McIntosh, Andrew (2019) Gender, Bolshevism & the Popular Press in Britain, 1916-1921. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Antonio Gramsci described ‘hegemony’ as the organisational and connected means by which a dominant group exercises influence and control throughout society. One of the primary ways this is possible is through media. This dissertation examines how the British popular press constructed a gendered hegemony using narratives involving women and Bolshevism during the aftermath of the First World War. These narratives were a response to a perceived crisis of gender related to the women’s suffrage movement and new roles created for women during the war. I argue that the popular press helped construct a gendered variant of hegemony during and after the war by appealing to the patriarchal imagination pervasive in British society as well as relying on Euro-Orientalist tropes and fears of the unclean masses. In all cases, women were placed in narratives that often depicted them either as maternal, victimised or deviant. Those narratives fixated on anxieties of social disorder and degeneration. This work draws from a variety of British scholarship pertaining to media history, labour history and gender studies. Apart from Gramsci, this thesis has been influenced by the gendered scholarship of Billie Melman, Nicoletta Gullace, Joane Nagel, the social studies of Ezequiel Adamovsky and Klaus Theweleit and the media studies of Adrian Bingham and Jean Chalaby. It synthesises these fields to explain how women were used in different narratives by the popular press from 1916-1921 to describe how elements of British society saw women, how they wanted them to change and what they feared women might become if society changed too radically. Those symbolic narratives were crucial to the renegotiation of the place of women in post-war British society; they were narratives where women were recognised as political beings but were still relegated to the private sphere. Questioning that paradigm was depicted as risking social disorder and revolution.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D204 Modern History
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D501 World War I
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D901 Europe (General)
D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > History, Department of
Depositing User: Andrew McIntosh
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2019 13:46
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2019 13:46
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25238

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