Pies and essays: women writing through the British 1984–1985 coal miners' strike

Carol Stephenson, Jean Spence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


During the 1984–1985 British miners' strike and in its immediate aftermath, women activists produced a series of publications involving creative writing, which sought to communicate the strike from their own perspective. The production and sale of publications were a practical activity in support of the strike and in defence of community. We argue that insofar as writing was also a means whereby the women who worked to make sense of themselves in an emergent situation for which there was no precedent, an analysis of such writing offers opportunities for a broader understanding of the strike. Writing enabled the women to affirm their class-based political loyalties while expressing the complexities and contradictions of gender relationships and roles. Writing as a reflexive act contributed to a clarification of those aspects of female lives which they valued, facilitated an expression of their emotional response to their experience of activism and enabled them to articulate a moral-political position within which they worked with ambiguity and contradiction. This article suggests that cultural texts of this type in themselves can only be properly understood in the context of structural and historical relations of power and that the context and conditions of production of writing are particularly pertinent to this process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-235
JournalGender, Place & Culture: A Journal of Feminist Geography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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