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

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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 Sep 2020

Bibliographical note

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

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