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A Magna Carta for Marriage: Love, Catholic Masculinities and the Humanae Vitae Contraception Crisis in 1968 Britain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages23
JournalCultural and Social History
Early online date15 Jul 2019
DOIs
Accepted/In press2 Jul 2019
E-pub ahead of print15 Jul 2019

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Abstract

When Humanae Vitae (the Vatican’s encyclical banning the contraceptive pill) was released in July 1968, it was the culmination of years of intense speculation and well-founded anticipation of a change in papal teaching on birth control. This article explores the gendered ambiguities embedded within this watershed document and its role as a touchstone for, paradoxically, both progressive and conservative interrogations of Catholic masculinities. It argues that the encyclical was a catalyst for refashioned lay understandings of married love and sexual intimacy throughout ‘middle England’ and thereby offers a new perspective on longstanding debates about the sixties, permissiveness and secularization in Britain.

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