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What Makes a (Third) Wave? How and why the third-wave narrative works for contemporary feminists

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Elizabeth Evans
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)409-428
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
Issue number3
Early online date20 Apr 2015
DateE-pub ahead of print - 20 Apr 2015
DatePublished (current) - 2 Jul 2015


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.

    Research areas

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

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  • What_makes_a_3rd_wave_IFJP

    Rights statement: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Feminist Journal of Politics on 20/04/2015, available online:

    Accepted author manuscript, 382 KB, PDF document


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