Singing for My Life: Memory, Nonviolence and the Songs of Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp

  • Anna Reading
Part of the Palgrave Macmillan Memory Studies book series (PMMS)


I am singing as I write this. For more than 30 years songs from Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp in the UK have been an important part of my personal memories of nonviolent political struggle. In this chapter I examine the articulations of my personal memories of Greenham Common Women’s Camp within and through the wider cultural and digital memories of what became one of the most internationally known peace camps in the 1980s against nuclear weapons towards the end of the Cold War. In particular, I examine how the cultural memories of nonviolent struggle are articulated through the songs that Greenham Common women created and shared that have since become further globalized through digital cultures. I explore the memories of the collective forms of cultural production embedded in the songs as well as the images and language of nonviolence present in some of the songs. I draw on a personal archive that I collected in 1987 as part of an honours thesis at the University of York (Reading, 1987) as well as the publicly available digital archives of the songs articulated through online websites, and the re-embodied memories of women reconnected through social networks that include Facebook and Youtube. I explore how the ‘connective memories’ (Hoskins, 2009) of Greenham Common’s Women’s Peace Songs are articulated through the combined dynamics of globalization and digitization conceptualized here and elsewhere in my work as ‘the globital memory field’ (Reading, 2011a).


Personal Memory Building Bridge Cultural Memory Nuclear Disarmament Nuclear Chain 
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© Anna Reading 2015

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  • Anna Reading

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