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Title: DIY feminism : a dialogical account
Author: Armstrong, Jayne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2700 8272
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2009
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The late 1990s and the early part of the new millennium witnessed the emergence of "DIY feminism" across a range of cultural practices in multiple local and transnational contexts. Despite evidence of a thriving DIY feminist culture in the UK, DIY feminist voices, practices and politics are largely absent from the scholarly literature in British feminist media and cultural studies which is predominantly focused on the analysis of feminist discourse in the commercial popular media. In my view, this focus has marginalized grassroots feminist voices, practices and politics rendering them invisible within the broader landscape of contemporary feminism. Research that engages with the voices, knowledges, practices and politics of DIY feminism is vital in order to develop our knowledge and understanding of contemporary feminism; provide a more complex view of the contemporary feminist landscape; and create opportunities for the dialogic encounter of academic, popular and DIY feminisms. My research is located in the context of scholarship on postfeminism, third wave feminism and DIY feminism. The concept of DIY feminism has been utilised by scholars to describe and define the ways in which women and grrrls create culture through the appropriation of technologies and/or discourse which resist mainstream representations. In a number of accounts technologies are defined as inherently democratic and intimate and the process of appropriating discourse is described as a practice of resistance to "the mainstream". In response to these claims, I propose a dialogic ethnography which maps the ideological, emotional and affective contexts through which DIY feminism takes shape. Interpreted from this perspective, technologies are not understood as inherently democratic but are a matter of social and cultural definition. Furthermore DIY feminism is not understood as inherently resistant to the mainstream but takes shape in the context of particular understandings of and responses to "the mainstream", in combination with other themes. Accounts of DIY feminism to date have focused primarily on the music and zines of riot grrrl while the DIY practices and politics of crafting and Ladyfests are relatively unexplored. I address this gap in the literature by providing an account of these two significant aspects of DIY feminism. I also propose a new approach to the analysis of feminist and grrrl zines. Drawing on Bakhtinian concepts of speech genre and discourse combined with concepts of feeling, emotion and affect, I map the multiple purposes of zines and the ways in which they express a particular structure of feeling. Through a dialogical approach, I map the multiple ways in which DIY feminists are reevaluating the "f' word to formulate a macro politics and a micropolitics to suit their own interests and concerns. I respond to claims that the DIY and third wave feminism represent a generation of feminism produced in a relation of conflict or disidentification with second wave feminism and I contribute qualitative empirical detail to the study of DIY feminism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available