Vol. 10 (2014): Donne Racconto Conflitti
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«We have ceased to be a nation in retreat». Margaret Thatcher e gli usi strategici del conflitto

Published March 5, 2015
How to Cite
De Michelis, L. (2015). «We have ceased to be a nation in retreat». Margaret Thatcher e gli usi strategici del conflitto. Storia Delle Donne, 10(1), 29-53. https://doi.org/10.13128/SDD-15571

Abstract

This essay explores Margaret Thatcher’s political agency and leadership style in terms of her reliance on discursive and media strategies which thrived on the “confusion” of gender stereotypes and her ability to play with multiple, long-established archetypes of women in power, characterized by violent and aggressive femininity. Thatcher’s frequent self-projection as a “masculine” character, the “honorary man” of British politics, and her special grip on British public opinion and fantasies, were never disjointed from her ability to don, exploit, subvert and redirect “motherly’ (or at least “womanly”) performances at will, in order to serve her political agenda. Focusing on her strategic deployment of a rhetoric and discourses of aggression, divisiveness, conflict and war, the essay highlights Thatcher’s ability to re-create and keep alive the idea of a national community always under siege, where extraordinary economic, disciplinary and defence measure were required in order to resist and overcome domestic and foreign “enemies”. The Falklands War will be taken as case study, for it provides an outstanding example of Thatcher’s powerful revision of female political authority against the backdrop of the conventionally masculine, heroic imaginary of war. Her masterly and coterminous performances as war leader and “super-mother” of the nation allowed for a complex and hybrid self-projection which still acts as an empowering model whose disciplinary subtext entails a nostalgic investment in imperial national history.

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