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Have yourself a merry little Christmas? Organizing Christmas in women's magazines past and present

Brewis, Joanna and Warren, Samantha (2011) 'Have yourself a merry little Christmas? Organizing Christmas in women's magazines past and present.' Organization, 18 (6). pp. 747-762. ISSN 1350-5084

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Abstract

This article investigates the organization of Christmas in 15 women’s magazines from the 1930s and 2009, using an analytical strategy of close reading to explore the discursive imperatives these texts seem to (re)create around female ‘festive labour’. We arrive at two conclusions: (1) a critique of popular perceptions of the ‘problem of gift giving’ as a contemporary phenomenon; and (2) a shift from the ‘domestic goddess’ discourse of the 1930s to a construction of women’s role in performing Christmas that rests on a somewhat contradictory rendering of managerialism. Our rather pessimistic endpoint is that the pressure on women to pull off the perfect Christmas has intensified—at least in these popular cultural texts—over the last 70-plus years, but at the same time there is a sense here that even the most intensive endeavours are doomed never to entirely succeed.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Christmas; domestic labour; feminine identity; magazines; popular culture; women
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Essex Business School
Depositing User: Jo Wiltshire
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2013 13:24
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2013 13:24
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/5390

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