The Shadow of Thatcher: Women, Feminism, Politics and Culture 30 Years On

Key Speakers:

  • Charlotte Brunsdon
  • Heather Nunn
  • Jackie Stacey
  • Beverley Skeggs

The first British woman Prime Minister. 
A resolute anti-feminist.
Political icon.
Scourge of the left.

What is the legacy for feminists and cultural scholars of Margaret Thatcher’s premiership?

30 years after Margaret Thatcher’s election as Conservative
Prime  Minister in 1979, a number of films and TV programmes
have looked back reflectively, sometimes nostalgically, on the 1980s
and her term of office (This is England, Tory, Tory, Tory!, The Road to
Finchley, The Line of Beauty). Thatcher herself has been celebrated as
the elder statesperson par excellence, on the pages of Vogue and posing
with the Prime Minister on the steps of Downing Street, her personal
image as the brightened by an increasingly mythical status. The current
revival of ‘eighties’ fashions and music has also mobilised the
re-imagining of Thatcherism as a powerful, abrasive, and deeply
productive driving force in British popular culture. No other national
politician has been so profoundly or so consistently associated with
such a wide range of cultural, social and political formations and
identities as Margaret Thatcher, while Thatcherism, whether defined as
a narrowly political ideology or as a set of tropes about nationhood,
identity and culture, retains its resonance in everyday life. Why is
this and what does itmean?

This conference offered the opportunity to reflect on the continuing
impact of Thatcherism and of Margaret Thatcher on feminist politics and
popular culture since the 1980s:

  • Why does Margaret Thatcher remain such a powerfully iconic figure and what does this tell us about contemporary feminism?

  • What has been the legacy of Thatcherism for the cultural politics of class?

  • How has Thatcherism been represented and mediated in popular culture?

  • To what extent have Thatcherism and post-Thatcherism continued to problematise feminist politics and culture?

  • In what ways does the re-telling of the 1980s in contemporary film and TV compare to stories produced during that decade?

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