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The Parlour and the Suburb

Domestic Identities, Class, Femininity and Modernity

The Parlour and the Suburb
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The Parlour and the Suburb challenges stereotypes about domesticity with a reevaluation of womens roles in the 'private' sphere. Classic accounts of modernity have generally ignored or marginalized women, relegating them to the private sphere of home , sexuality and personal relationships. This private sphere has been understood as a gendered space in which a non-modern femininity is opposed to the masculine world of politics, economics, urban life and the workplace. The author argues, however, t hat home and private life have been crucial spaces in which the interrelations of class and gender have been significant in the formation of modern feminine subjectivities. Focusing on the first half of the twentieth century, The Parlour and the Subu rb examines how women experienced and understood the home and private life in light of modernity. It explores the identities and self-definitions that domesticity inscribed and shows how these were central to womens sense of themselves as 'modern' in dividuals. The book draws on a range of cultural texts and practices to explore aspects of domestic modernity that have received little attention in most accounts of modern subjectivities. Topics covered include suburbia, consumption practices, domes tic service and the wartime figure of the housewife. Texts examined include a range of womens magazines, George Orwells Coming up for Air, Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, BBC Home Services 'Help for Housewives' and oral history narratives.
Please note that images or diagrams have been excluded from this text due to copyright restrictions.
Bloomsbury Publishing; Read online