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“Grandma never knit like this”: Reclaiming older women’s knitting practices from discourses of new craft in Britain

Ogden, CA and Harrison, K (2019) “Grandma never knit like this”: Reclaiming older women’s knitting practices from discourses of new craft in Britain. Leisure Studies. ISSN 0261-4367

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Abstract

New discourses of craft construct knitting as young, hip, socially networked and politically conscious and the experiences of knitters who do not fit into this formulation are marginalised. 7.3 million people in Britain knit; the vast majority are women in their mid-thirties and older. Yet popular media accounts of ‘new knitting’ mobilise the derogatory figure of the ‘grandma’ to repudiate knitters who are seen not to properly instantiate contemporary femininity. Although this derision accrues particularly to older women, knitters of all ages can be similarly dismissed. Knitting is thus a site of struggle around new formations of gender in postfeminist culture in which some women fall short. This study uses original qualitative data from focus groups with 15 adult knitters in North-west England and North Wales to give voice to women who do not identify with ‘new knitting’ practices and primarily pursue their hobby in more conventional contexts. The article finds that traditional domestic craft practices continue to play a significant role, particularly in older women’s leisure, and that ‘new knitting’ is alienating for some practitioners. While the article concludes that twenty-first century discourses of craft have devalued established knitting practices, it also indicates that these are useful sources of critique of hipster capitalist postfeminist culture.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Leisure Studies on 16 Feb 2019 http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/02614367.2019.1579852
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1506 Tourism, 1504 Commercial Services
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Humanities and Social Science
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2019 12:07
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2019 22:58
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/10093

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