Television for Women: Generation, Gender and the Everyday
This study is part of the AHRC funded project “A History of Television for Women in Britain, 1947-1989”. The research is based upon the data gathered from interviews carried out with thirty geographically and generationally dispersed women about their memories of watching television in Britain between 1947 and 1989. I have used generation and gender as analytical categories, and have paid particular attention to the role of memory work in this type of historical research. This thesis aims to build upon previous work which has investigated the connection between generation and interaction with popular culture, but which has not theorised those relationships (Press, 1991; Moseley, 2002). The shifts and, indeed, continuities in the lives of different generations of British women are considered to gain a sense of the importance of generation in the production of identity. Significant differences arose between generations in terms of reflexivity and around questions of quality, value and taste as generations intersected with feminist and neoliberal cultures at different life stages. What was particularly interesting, however, was that despite the dramatic social change wrought by this post-war period, the narratives of women of different generations were surprisingly similar in terms of their everyday lives. Their memories largely centred around domestic relationships, and the women’s role as mother was often central to these. Following my investigation of the significance of motherhood to women’s production of gendered identity I consider the moments which disrupted that pattern and where women are enabled to conceive of an identity outside their familial role. Talk around pop music programming and desire had generational significance in the production of individual identities, again pointing to the importance of generation as an analytical category.
- PhD