Body, self and family: women’s psychological, emotional and bodily health in Britain c1960–1990


  • Dr Tracey Loughran

    University of Essex

Project summary

We still know little about the everyday health experiences of women in the post-war period, when the pattern of their lives changed beyond recognition.

This project examines how wider social changes affected women’s experiences of self, body and emotion. It will explore women’s experiences at different stages of the life cycle, emphasising the interplay of body, mind and emotion, how women negotiated with authority, and how new reproductive and contraceptive technologies affected their experiences of ‘embodied time’. We will conduct 50 interviews and consult under-used oral history collections, mass-market and feminist publications, and archival material on feminist, gay, and Black activism. We will use this material to address theoretical questions on the relationship between representation and experience in historical research and develop methodologies to explore these gaps.

The project will result in peer-reviewed publications, conference papers, events for academic audiences, a programme of public engagement activities with schools and community groups, and work with St Fagans National History Museum in Cardiff culminating in an exhibition. This project will revolutionise historical understanding of women’s experiences of health, reproduction, and medical technologies and practices, and will generate new approaches to researching female subjectivity and bodily experience.