The Catholic Matrix
Della Sudda, Magali, « Gender, Fascism and the Right-Wing in France between the Wars: The Catholic Matrix » Julie V. Gottlieb (Ed.) “Gender and Fascism”, Totalitarian Movements and Political Religion, 2012, vol.13, issue 2, pp.179-195.
Summary: This article seeks to take the discussion of French fascism in a different direction by offering an analysis from a gendered perspective. Based on original archive material and literature, it provides an interpretation in terms of continuity between prewar conservative movements, Catholic women’s leagues and far right organizations in terms of gender representations and the sexual division of political labour. The first part of the article focuses on the contrast between a vivid and flourishing scholarship on gender and fascism led by English-speaking scholars, and the relative paucity of research conducted from within the French academy on the same. The debate over the existence and the peculiarity of French fascism has represented an obstacle for the emergence of innovative research on subjects such as women, masculinity and more generally gender in France. Nevertheless, an empirical survey based on archival material of the Catholic Church and Catholic women’s leagues, as well as the more usual material from the National Archives, provides new evidences of continuity from an organisational and ideological perspective to the Catholic Action league, the Croix de Feu/Parti social français and the Jeunesses patriotes.