The cultural politics of everyday discourse: The case of “male chauvinist”


Mansbridge, Jane, and Katherine Flaster. “The cultural politics of everyday discourse: The case of “male chauvinist””. Critical Sociology 33.4 (2007): , 33, 4, 627-660. Web. Copy at
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The spread of the term “male chauvinist,” coined in the United States around 1934, reveals the crucial work done in a social movement — in this case the second wave of American feminism — by what we call “everyday activists.” Everyday activists may not interact with the world of formal politics, but they take actions in their own lives to redress injustices that a contemporary social movement has made salient. The interplay between organized and everyday activists creates an evolutionary dynamic of “organized activist variation” and “everyday activist selection.” Organized activists in tightly-knit and protected enclaves (such as those in the American Communist Party in the 1930s or the feminist movement in the late 1960s) produce a cornucopia of counter-hegemonic concepts. Everyday activists then select the concepts they will use, primarily for the purpose of persuasion, in everyday talk.

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Last updated on 08/20/2014