Sexual Politics: Sexuality, Family Planning, and the British Left from the 1880s to the Present Day

Paperback | June 15, 2013

byStephen Brooke

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Sexual Politics explores the complex relationship between sexuality and socialist politics in Britain between the 1880s and the present day. Looking at birth control, abortion law reform, and gay rights, this is a timely examination of the relationship between the personal and the politicalover the last century and a half. Stephen Brooke tells the stories of individuals such as Edward Carpenter, Dora Russell, Sheila Rowbotham, Ken Livingstone, Peter Tatchell, and Tony Blair, and organizations like the Workers' Birth Control Group, the Abortion Law Reform Association, the NationalAbortion Campaign, and the Labour Campaign for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Sexual radicalism, first and second wave feminism, and gay liberation all feature in the book's portrait of the progress of sexual politics from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century. Sexual Politics also offers an analysis of the Labour Party's long and sometimes ambiguous link to issues of sexuality, ending with the considerable contribution made to sex reform by the New Labour governments of 1997 to 2010. Sexual issues were always under the surface of Labour politics in thetwentieth century, emerging forcefully in the 1970s and 1980s in a way that brought both division and unity to the party. Brooke stresses the importance of class and gender identity to the fate of sexual issues in British politics, the dynamic nature of British socialism, and the impact of sexualradicalism, feminism, and gay liberation upon socialist and working-class politics. Sexual Politics argues that the shifting relationship between the personal and the political is a central element of twentieth-century British history, a relationship that helped define the character of politicalmodernity.

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Sexual Politics explores the complex relationship between sexuality and socialist politics in Britain between the 1880s and the present day. Looking at birth control, abortion law reform, and gay rights, this is a timely examination of the relationship between the personal and the politicalover the last century and a half. Stephen Broo...

Stephen Brooke is a Professor of History at York University, Toronto. He has been a co-editor of the journal Twentieth-Century British History since 2004 and managing editor since 2010. He has also served on the editorial boards of Contemporary British History and the Journal of British Studies.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:304 pagesPublished:June 15, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199680973

ISBN - 13:9780199680979

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Table of Contents

Introduction: 'Your Sex Life is Political'1. Beginnings: Socialism and Sexual Reform, 1880s to 1920sPart 1: Backstreets and Utopias Between the Wars2. Clash: The Labour Party and Birth Control, 1923 to 19303. Writing and Living New Worlds: Socialism, Sex, and Emotions4. Abortion and Working-Class Politics in the 1930sPart 2: Roads to 19675. A 'Silent', 'Modern' Revolution? The Family, Femininity, and Reproductive Politics in the 1940s and 1950s6. Labour and the 'Liberal Hour', 1956-67: Abortion, Family Planning, and Homosexual Law ReformPart 3: Roads from 19677. Second Wave Feminism, Labour, and the Defence of the Abortion Act, 1967-908. A Thirty Years War? Gay Rights and the Labour Party, 1967-97Conclusion: Endings or Beginnings? New Labour, Sexuality, and Reproductive Politics, 1997 to 2010BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"a much needed intervention in the history of politics and sexuality in the 20th century - a book which students and researchers of the subject will find essential and also, due to the clarity of the argument and lucidity of tone, enjoyable ... a book which should provoke debate and focusminds for years to come." --Charles Smith, Reviews in History