In defence of reading (and watching) trash: Feminists reading the romance

Deborah Philips

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In Cultural Populism, Jim McGuigan argues that in British cultural studies ‘there
    is populist sentiment, but hardly any “sentimentality” is discernible’. There is,
    however, an arena of British cultural studies that has always been concerned with
    ‘sentiment’ and that is the romance narrative. This article argues that the study of
    popular fictions has always been integral to the history of cultural studies, and that it
    established a site in which feminist voices would make gender politics intrinsic to the
    field. At a time when gender was not a central issue for either Literature or Cultural
    Studies, generic fictions written by and for women provided a site for research that
    was undeniably about female experience, and the analysis of those texts offered a
    strategy for asserting a feminist focus.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)900-914
    Number of pages15
    JournalEuropean Journal of Cultural Studies
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2020

    Bibliographical note

    This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (


    • cultural populism
    • romance
    • soap opera
    • feminist theory
    • literature
    • popular fiction
    • Feminism
    • women’s writing


    Dive into the research topics of 'In defence of reading (and watching) trash: Feminists reading the romance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this