Challenging domesticity in Britain, 1890-1990: special issue introduction

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The idealisation of the home and its centrality to women and children’s roles was central to British culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As much historical scholarship has noted, a powerful vision of home as a place of refuge, privacy and cosy family life shaped how the British state, the press, and popular culture conceptualised domesticity, dictating the dominant representations of home life across the twentieth century. However, the introduction highlights the limitations to the existing research and, for instance, historians know relatively little about how the home functioned as a site of conflict, poverty, and fear. It explains how this Special Issue complicates concepts of domesticity in modern British historical scholarship by exploring the ways in which groups and individuals manipulated or subverted meanings of ‘home,’ using domestic space for activities that subverted the very concept of home life. Part of an AHRC funded Network, Challenging Domesticity in Britain, 1890-1990 (Ref AH/S010289/1), this collection of original research brings together new ways of thinking about domestic space historically. It shows that historians need to take the issues associated with home and domesticity more seriously, not just as a place of shelter but as a site of action and agency.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen's History Review
Early online date28 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


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