What Makes a (Third) Wave? How and Why the Third Wave Narrative Works for Contemporary Feminists

Evans, Elizabeth. 2014. What Makes a (Third) Wave? How and Why the Third Wave Narrative Works for Contemporary Feminists. International Feminist Journal of Politics, 18(3), pp. 409-428. ISSN 1461-6742 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

The wave narrative has come to frame academic and popular discussions of western feminist activism. Yet there are overlapping and contradictory ways of interpreting “third-wave feminism,” which has resulted in much confusion surrounding its use and relevancy within western feminist praxis. Hence the need for a greater understanding of the term “third-wave feminism.” This article sets out a framework for understanding third-wave feminism, highlighting the importance of political context. The article, drawing upon interview data generated with activists in the USA and the UK, argues that while chronology is the most prevalent way in which feminist activists interpret third-wave feminism, many also cite age and intersectionality as indicators of third-wave feminism. Moreover, differing interpretations influence the extent to which it is seen as a positive development. While third-wave feminism is more developed in the USA, many within the UK recognize and use the term.

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third-wave feminism, intersectionality, US feminism, UK feminism

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17 October 2014Accepted

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Date Deposited:

06 Oct 2016 15:42

Last Modified:

30 Jun 2017 10:32

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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