56.1 'Boss of your own belly' - The creativity of the social protest for women's social justice in Sweden during the 1970s

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 10:45 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Eva SCHMITZ , Department of Sociology, University of Halmstad, Halmstad, Sweden
The social protest or the ‘repertoires of collective action’ (Tilly1978) has taken various expressions in the history of social movements. There is a continuity in the creativeness, using culture, art and other performances in the social protest for social justice as well as new actions devised in response to changed circumstances (Tarrow 1998, West & Blumberg 1990, Roseneil 1995, Zald 1996). The importance of studying emotions and creativity in the study of social movements has not least been argued from scholars studying feminist movements (Ferree & Miller 1985, Ryan 1992, Taylor & Whittier 1999).

When the news about the emergence of a women's movement in the late 1960s was spread in media, it was not unusual that the focus was precisely on the creativity in the actions performed by women activists.

In this paper I want to contribute with some historical examples of creativity and emotions in the collective actions organized by women activists throughout Sweden during the 1970s.  Questions are raised as: In what way were the demands of the movement expressed via music, street art, and theatre? Were these protests effective?  Did the activists build their strategies on their historical predecessors or did they emerge from a spontaneous creativity?

The purpose of this paper is to show in what way the importance of creativity in the social protest has for the reception of the ideas and demands of the movement beyond the members themselves and sympathizers. I argue, in accordance with Barbara Ryan (1992), the importance of ideology and symbols in the feminist mobilization and engagement. With a deeper empirical study of the range of the creativity in the social protests we can hopefully get a better understanding of the ‘repertoires of collective action’ that we see emerging from women activists in the Middle East today.