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Political not generational: Getting real about contemporary UK radical feminism

Mackay, Finn



In this article, using empirical data gathered from survey research and semi-structured interviews with feminist activists across the UK, I shall explore how activists themselves relate to the term third wave. It emerged that for many activists, the term freighted particular political ideologies, and was not used simply as a generational referent or chronological marker point in the progression of feminism as a social movement. One group of feminists in particular voiced strong opposition to the term and refused to be positioned as part of a third wave, or be classified as third wave feminists. This group included research participants who were aged in their twenties and thirties and thus who could be viewed technically as a ‘new generation’ of feminist activists or as activists in a period chronologically following the Second Wave. As the title alludes, all of these participants identified themselves politically as Radical Feminists – a type or school of feminism rooted in and perhaps most often popularly associated with the Second Wave feminism of the 1970s.


Mackay, F. (2015). Political not generational: Getting real about contemporary UK radical feminism. Social Movement Studies, 14(4), 427-442.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jul 1, 2015
Journal Social Movement Studies
Print ISSN 1474-2837
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 4
Pages 427-442
Keywords feminism, lesbian, radical feminism, activism, third wave, young women
Public URL
Publisher URL

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