Labour History

Feminism and Representations of Union Identity in Australian Union Banners of the 1980s and Early 1990s

Labour History (2000), 79, (1), 92–112.

Abstract

The revived production of one well known working-class cultural icon - trade union banners - in Australia in the 1980s came about for several historical reasons. This article examines this resurgence, in the process identifying a number of key features. First, the banners produced differ substantially from traditional historical union banners in their media, their form and the image of unions and the memberships they depict. Second, a significant number of the new banners were produced by artists whose designs were informed by feminist critiques of the representation of women and other marginalised workers within unions and by feminist desires for the reformulation of the meanings of unionism. In this way this collection of new banners illuminates the changing and contested cultural practices of Australian unionism in the 1980s and 1990s.

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Author details

Muir, Kathie

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