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): 471–90.

Author: Catherine Eschle


This article investigates the discursive construction of gendered identities in anti-nuclear activism and particularly in peace camps. My starting point is the now substantial academic literature on Cold War women-only peace camps, such as that at 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 the figure of the Gender-Equal Peace Activist, displaced in the mid-1990s by Peace Warrior/Earth Goddess identities shaped by radical environmentalism and reinstating hierarchical gender norms. I conclude that 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 social norms, but also through discursive linkage with, or disconnection from, political subjectivities in wider society. With such claims, the article aims to re-contextualise Greenham Woman in her particular place and time, and to contribute to a more expansive understanding of the gendering of anti-nuclear activism.

Keywords: Anti-nuclear, peace camps, gender identities, discourse analysis, Faslane peace camps

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Gendered Discourses, Women, Peace and Security, Peacebuilding, Rights, Women's Rights, Weapons /Arms, Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Countries: United Kingdom

Year: 2017

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