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5 augusti 2010
 
 
Sociologisk forskning nr 3 2010
 
A Vocabulary Justifying Revolutions
 
To my knowledge, the concept “vocabulary of motives” was first used in social science by the young C. Wright Mills (1940). In my recent book, The Many-Splendored Society: Fueled by Symbols (Zetterberg, 2010, pp. 415-416), I suggest that vocabularies of motives are of two different kinds. We use ‘vocabularies of justifications’ to motivate our own actions. ‘Compelling vocabularies’ are what others use to motivate us, and what we might use to motivate others. The leverage of these small sets of words fascinates and mystifies. Our language brains use them in human encounters to shape and motivate individuals, and thereby also maintain and change social reality.
 
 
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