For Work / Against Work
Debates on the centrality of work

"Putting Women in Their Place: the Carnival at Greenham Common"

by Cresswell, Tim (1994)


In this paper I examine reactions to the Greenham Common Women's Peace Camp. I argue that the media, local and government responses to the Greenham women reveal geographical assumptions about “normality.” The peace women, by living away from home, on the edge of a military (and therefore masculine) establishment challenged accepted patriarchal understandings of “women's place” and were thus described as “out of place.” More specifically, the women were referred to in terms of hygiene, inadequate culinary ability, sexuality and hysteria. Each of these implies a gendered form of disorder in which social, cultural and geographical boundaries have been transgressed. These reactions are placed within the context of Bakhtin's formulations of the carnivalesque and grotesque realism. I suggest that the women, through their highly visible opposition to a patriarchal military establishment, represent a threat to neatly bounded official culture which finds its geographical expression in the formal territories of the courtroom and the air base. In conclusion this illustration is placed in the wider context of cultural/political protest. I argue that transgression, while serving to reveal normally assumed hegemonic landscapes, is restrained by already existing boundaries.


Normality, Military, Patriarchy, Feminist Theory, Feminism, Sexuality, Culture, Gender, Transgression, Resistance


Cultures of Work

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