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Title: Sexuality, race and Zionism : conflict and debates in 'Spare Rib', 1972-1993
Author: Malpocher, Corrine
ISNI:       0000 0004 2677 4266
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis is about the longest-lived (1972-1993) women's liberation magazine in the UK: Spare Rib (SR). Surprisingly, to date there has been no extended research on this magazine. Only a small number of academic articles and book chapters make fleeting reference to it. Whilst maintaining a close connection to the Women's Liberation Movement, SR proclaimed itself a magazine for all women. It was produced collectively. SRs collective endured many internal identity-based conflicts, made public on the pages of the magazine. In particular, the SR collective became deeply divided over three issues: anti-lesbianism, racism and anti-Semitism/Zionism. It is these three debates specifically, and the processes of how the magazine engaged with them, which this thesis focuses on. Using textual analysis, I investigate readers' letters, magazine editorials, and articles to analyse the shape of these debates, in terms of content and process. Thus, in the first substantive chapter I analyse how the debate about anti-lesbianism in SR developed. I also examine how the first discussions about 'the nature' of lesbianism - focusing in particular on whether it was primarily biological or emotional - and their follow-up established the pattern through which the SR collective engaged in contentious debates. Chapter 3 focuses on the issue of race and racism as it unfolded in SR. Here I analyse how an initial concern with Asian women workers' experiences in Britain was quickly superseded by a focus on the exclusion of black women from the WLM and their experiences of racism, and how this in turn developed into one of the most searing conflicts within SR. Chapter 4 demonstrates how the race issue overwhelmed questions of anti-Semitism/Zionism, dividing the collective along racial lines. My Conclusion suggests that ultimately the debates in SR magazine proved intractable because of irresolvable differences among diverse identity-based positions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available