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bigjay's avatar

What social movement am I looking for?

Asked by bigjay (387points) October 4th, 2010

Hi there everyone
For my secondary school certificate, I have to do a paper. I want mine to be about this author called ‘William Burroughs’ – he’s basically what i like to call a ‘shock’ writer [ie deals with tabboo topics such as homosexuality and drug addiction – shocking back in the 1900s].
I want the paper to be titled ‘non-coformist attitudes in the novels ‘junky’ and ‘naked-lunch’, by William Burroughs’
The problem is, non-conformism refers to a religious movement in England dealing with the protestant church.
In my context, im referring to the idea of not conforming yourself to traditions and orthodox ideas, and expressing your views in ways that may seem inappropriate and revolutionary to society.
Is there any general term that refers to such people, or such a school of thought?
thanks all

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13 Answers

Blueroses's avatar

Experimental? Alternative Philosophy?

cazzie's avatar

Oh… you’re lucky. The movment was very strong in England, but much earlier… You should look back at a time with Mary Wollstonecraft and the people she hung around.

The term was different in England. I think they’re called ‘The Free Thinkers’....

meiosis's avatar

Radical attitudes in the novels…”?

BarnacleBill's avatar

I believe the correct term is countercultural
Scroll down the page; it specifically references Burroughs.

LanceVance's avatar

I believe nonconformist, when not capitalized, would be OK.

cazzie's avatar

Yes…I need to correct my answer: I’d go with counterculture rather than freethinker… freethinking is missing the hedonistic, drug taking, sex-orgy side to what the ‘beat generation’ were getting up to.

Carly's avatar


Jeruba's avatar

“Nonconformist” still belongs to the language at large, even though it did have a special application in Protestantism.

There would be no confusion if you said “nonconforming” or “unconventional” or “unorthodox.” Would “socially unacceptable” be too strong?

I don’t see why you need to cite a social movement if you are speaking about the works of one man. Was he conforming to some movement? If so, it should be named in his biography.

lloydbird's avatar

Iconoclasm sounds quite nice too.

bigjay's avatar

hey guys
thanks for the answers. now i have quite a few choices from which to pick
iconoclasm sounds pretty good i think. the others are really good too, but the thing is, i want to stay way from any word which is too obvious. That is to say, if i were writing an essay on Shakespeare, and I titled it ‘The Element of Tragedy in the Works’, well i’d be limiting my grade then and there, as a google search on ‘tragedy shakespeare’ turns up millions of related hits. The examiners want to see that actual first hand research has gone into making the paper. Therefore choices such as Beatnik, countercultural, absurdism – while they go perfectly with what i am trying to investigate – makes my work very similiar to that which has already been done.
For this reason itself, most people shy away from English when choosing their paper – ie in Economics, one could simply go down to a few local stores and compare prices, coming up with a microeconomic analysis of perfect competition etc etc.
But then again – im beginning to suspect that it is more my topic choice that is pretty cliched, not just the title. No matter how i put it, i would still be dealing with the most dominant theme in the book.
Thanks for helping clear my mind all

gasman's avatar

Rebellious ?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@bigjay I can hardly see that the title of your paper or some of the words in it are going to limit your grade because they’re googleable. If you titled the paper / movement “Ooga-Booganism” (which I doubt will get many hits in Google son of a gun, five pages’ worth!), and then copy someone else’s work, you’ll be found out. Conversely, if you use a more conventional title / naming, then ace the essay in your own words and style, that should be obvious to an experienced teacher as well.

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