Small Escapes: Gender, Class, and Material Culture in Great War Internment Camps

TitleSmall Escapes: Gender, Class, and Material Culture in Great War Internment Camps
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsRachamimov, Iris
Pagination166-188
Date Published05/2018
Abstract

This chapter examines the prisoner of war (POW) camps of the First World War that became the temporary homes of officers. POWs creatively sustained prewar class and gender roles through the production and use of domestic objects and clothing in internment camps. Indeed, letters of the POW officers portray almost without exception the attempts to structure daily activities according to civilian patterns. Amidst the uncertainties and dislocations of captivity, POW officers and civilian internees relied on artifacts to perform meaningful social scripts and deployed them to articulate a range of emotions and identities. Although these scripts had multiple collective and personal meanings, many of them were aimed at sustaining prewar notions of “normalcy,” “respectability,” and productive masculinity. However, because these social scripts emanated from the prewar bi-gender world, recreating them in one-gender settings often led to transgressions of respectable masculinity. [ResearchGate]

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