Beyond Greenham Woman? Gender identities and anti-nuclear activism in peace camps

Eschle, Catherine (2017) Beyond Greenham Woman? Gender identities and anti-nuclear activism in peace camps. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 19 (4). pp. 471-490. ISSN 1461-6742

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    Abstract

    This article investigates the discursive construction of gendered identities in anti-nuclear activism, particularly peace camps. My starting point is the now substantial academic literature on Cold War women-only peace camps, such as Greenham Common. I extend the analysis that emerges from this literature in my research on the mixed-gender, long-standing camp at Faslane naval base in Scotland. I argue that the 1980s saw the articulation in the camp of what I call the Gender-Equal Peace Activist, displaced in the 1990s by Peace Warrior/Earth Goddess identities that were influenced by radical environmentalism and that both reinstated hierarchical gender norms and asserted difference from and superiority over mainstream social subjectivities. I conclude that the gendered identities constructed in and through anti-nuclear activism are even more variable than previously considered; that they shift over time as well as place and are influenced by diverse movements, not solely feminism; and that they gain their political effect not only through the transgression of norms, but also through discursive linkage with, or disconnection from, other political subjectivities. With such claims, the article aims to re-contextualise Greenham Woman in her particular place and time and to contribute to an expanded imaginary about the gendering of anti-nuclear activism.