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Feminist Bookshops, Reading Cultures and the Women’s Liberation Movement in Great Britain, c. 1974–2000

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Historians of the Women’s Liberation Movement have long stressed its decentralised form, with a deliberate refusal of the infrastructure of leaders and formal institutions. Instead, like other social movements of the 1970s and 80s, periodicals, networks of friends, and informal meeting places tended to provide the impetus for the development and diffusion of feminist ideas and strategies of protest. This article examines the significant role that bookshops played in this process, as politicised and commercial spaces. Feminist bookselling is situated within a longer tradition of bookselling, and understood as part of a wider process of attempting to bring social justice concerns to bear within capitalist settings. The feasibility and effect of women-only principles in bookshop settings is explored; bookshops emerge as contentious sites of activism in their own right.



4303 Historical Studies, 43 History, Heritage and Archaeology

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History Workshop Journal

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Oxford University Press (OUP)