Historical studies of gender and sexuality have shown the importance of these identities for socialist history and politics. These identifies were previously marginalised in explorations of political and economic transitions but have come to the fore in critical histories focusing on sexuality and gender. This expanding body of scholarship has troubled, invigorated and extended this field of socialist history and politics as well as intersecting with broader contemporary debates surrounding political identities.
Contributors to this edition of Socialist History look at the relationship between the study of gender and sexuality and conventional socialist histories of the formation of identity and political interests, often provoking revisions of the concept of the political in socialist analysis. This volume illustrates how engendering history can lead to the development of new theoretical frameworks. The contributors explorations of the intersections of class, gender and sexuality also show those identities to be interconnected and historically fluid. They demonstrate how mapping these interconnections raises issues about the role of power, culture and discourse in socialist analysis. Fidelma Ashe provides an overview of the relationships between gender, sexuality and socialist history. Lesley Hall examines the changing attitudes of the Labour Party towards sex and legislating on controversial 'moral' matters. Jeff Hearn illustrates how the category of 'masculinities' is interconnected with a broad range of issues relevant to the left. Justin Bengry examines the relationship between queer styles and the mainstream, exposing the connections between sexual identity and consumer capitalism. In addition Sharif Gemie argues that there is an important relationship between national and musical cultures with a particular focus on gender and memory in folk music from Northern Spain. In the perspectives section Jeffrey Wright examines why the working class have acquiesced to capitalism.