Bedell–Paradigm Shifts

Paradigm Shifts

When we talk about a paradigm shift, we’re talking about a change in the way people perceive or participate in a new status quo.  The question is, what triggered the change? How did a new ideology emerge and take the place of an existing ideology? How does one accepted behavior get replaced by another?

Is there a shaking of a cultural terra firma that allows for a crack in our foundation and the allowance of a new idea to emerge? A kairotic event?  Or is it a slower change fueled by improved knowledge? Is it pushed by a person like Claudette Colvin or Rosa Parks? By a group like the NRA?

Think about how the nation’s understanding of the meaning of the Confederate flag has changed, particularly since the 1950s. When I was a kid, everyone told Polish jokes and “dumb Blonde” jokes.  When did that stop and why?  Why did labor unions lose so much ground, both in terms of membership and favor, in the U.S.?

Here are a couple of examples of paradigm shifts.  Give them a look and we’ll talk about them in class.

https://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2015/08/26/when-did-parents-get-scared/dEsGOllSt3zhFPfy1iOzKI/story.html

http://sites.psu.edu/rclbedell2013/wp-content/uploads/sites/4499/2013/10/Condit-Article.pdf

How to look for a paradigm shift

Stumbling across an article like this might happen, but thinking about the way language changes can be a great place to start. Check out these two links for a look at words and, in turn, evidence of new ideas and changing paradigms:

http://public.oed.com/the-oed-today/recent-updates-to-the-oed/june-2015-update/new-words-list-june-2015/ 

http://mentalfloss.com/article/31363/35-modern-words-recently-added-dictionary

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