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Title: Feminist radicals : marginalisation, intersectionality and subjectivities in the Scottish Radical Independence campaign, 2012-2014
Author: Morrison, Jennifer Marie
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores feminism within and beyond the Scottish Radical Independence Campaign (RIC) in the run up to the 18 September 2014 referendum. Feminist literature has argued that feminism is marginalised within radical left movements. Yet, following the 2008 economic crisis, scholarship has traced a series of reconfigurations of the radical left across Europe and an increase in the visibility of grassroots feminist activism. Moreover, commentators claim this reconfigured left is more inclusive than previous iterations of radical movements. The thesis addresses the research questions: to what extent does feminism shape the broader radical left? How far does feminism in the radical left build an intersectional movement? The thesis transcends the traditional focus on feminist marginalisation to consider the activism of and marginalisations within feminism on the radical left. As such, the thesis expands theorising on the relationship of feminism and the radical left in the post-2008 crisis context, notably offering new insights into feminist activism on the radical left and the multi-dimensional nature of marginalisation. I draw on analysis of 37 qualitative semi-structured interviews I carried out as an insider researcher during the referendum campaign, 34 with feminist radical activists and 3 with key male RIC organisers, as well as 5 follow up interviews in early 2017. Utilising the concepts of hegemony and intersectionality in the analysis of feminism in the radical left, I highlight that multiple, contradictory ideas can co-exist in the same movement at the same time. I conclude that there was a vibrant feminist radical activism in and beyond RIC. However, I argue that the movement was marked by a tension between inclusive rhetoric and a perception of ongoing multi-dimensional marginalisations along lines of gender, class, race and age. RIC organisers framed the campaign as inclusive but marginalised feminist politics. In turn, feminist radical interviewees tended to characterise their movement as intersectional but racialised minority, working class and feminists of different ages discussed feeling marginalised. This assessment indicates that perceptions of marginalisation are shaped by feminists’ intersecting gendered, racialised, age, and class subjectivities. Furthermore, while feminist radicals were explicitly opposed to neoliberalism, hegemonic neoliberal norms of individualism shaped the conditions in which they were active. This is important because while neoliberal hegemony is often cloaked in a language of inclusion, neoliberal individualism privileges the young, white, straight, cis, middle class and, therefore, operates as a form of exclusion.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JA Political science (General) ; JN Political institutions (Europe) ; JN1187 Scotland