The Roots of 'Woke' Culture

By BBC Radio 4

Barack Obama condemned it. Black American activists championed it. Meghan Markle brought it to the Royal Family. “Wokeness” has become a shorthand for one side of the culture wars, popularising concepts like “white privilege” and “trigger warnings” - and the idea that “language is violence”. Journalist Helen Lewis is on a mission to uncover the roots of this social phenomenon. On her way she meets three authors who in 2017 hoaxed a series of academic journals with fake papers on dog rape, fat bodybuilding and feminist astrology. They claimed to have exposed the jargon-loving, post-modern absurdity of politically correct university departments - whose theories drive “woke” online political movements. But is there really a link between the contemporary language of social justice warriors and the continental philosophy of the 1960s and 70s? And are critics of wokeness just reactionaries, left uneasy by a changing world? Producer Craig Templeton Smith Editor Jasper Corbett

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