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|Title: ||Social Change and Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique: A Study of the Charismatic Author-Leader|
|Authors: ||Morgan, Joanne|
|Keywords: ||social movements;Friedan;charisma;author;womens liberation|
|Issue Date: ||2002|
|Publisher: ||University of Sydney. Sociology|
|Abstract: ||In this thesis I explore the significance of the publication of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) to the emergence of the second wave Women's Liberation Movement in the US in the late 1960s. To this end, I deploy key concepts provided through social movement theory (eg collective identity, collective action frames, social problem construction). I also incorporate Max Weber and Antonio Gramsci's insights on the indispensable role played by leaders who demonstrate a clear and effective political will. Weber's three part model of pure charisma is used as a general template for understanding the impact of Friedan's text. I critique aspects of Weber's theory of charisma, in particular his failure to appreciate that the written word can mark the initial emergence phase of charisma rather than its routinisation. I augment Weber's insights on charismatic leadership by attending to Gramsci's emphasis on the necessity of winning the 'war of ideas' that must be waged at the level of civil society within advanced capitalist societies. I examine Gramsci's understanding of the power available to the organic intellectual who is aligned with the interests of subaltern groups and who succeeds in revealing the hegemonic commitments of accepted 'common sense'. In the latter part of this thesis, I apply these many useful concepts to my case study analysis of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique. I argue that Friedan's accessible, middlebrow text gave birth to a new discursive politics which was critically important not only for older women, but for a younger generation of more radicalised women. I emphasise how Friedan's text mounted a concerted attack on the discursive construction of femininity under patriarchal capitalism. I question Friedan's diagnostic claim that the problems American women faced were adequately captured by the terminology of the trapped housewife syndrome. I conclude by arguing that social movement researchers have to date failed to appreciate the leadership potential of the charismatic author-leader who succeeds in addressing and offering a solution to a pressing social problem through the medium of a best-selling, middlebrow text.|
|Rights and Permissions: ||Copyright Morgan, Joanne;http://www.library.usyd.edu.au/copyright.html|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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