Taken for Granted: The Remarkable Power of the Unremarkable

Taken for Granted: The Remarkable Power of the Unremarkable

Why is the term “openly gay” so widely used but “openly straight” is not? What are the unspoken assumptions behind terms like “male nurse,” “working mom,” and “white trash”? Taken for Granted exposes the subtly encoded ways we talk about topics like race, gender, sexuality, and social status, offering a provocative look at the word choices we make every day without even realizing it. Eviatar Zerubavel describes how the words we use provide telling clues about the things we take for granted. By marking “women’s history” or “Black History Month,” we are also reinforcing the apparent normality of the history of white men. Zerubavel shows how this tacit normalizing of certain identities, practices, and ideas helps to maintain their cultural dominance—and shape what we take for granted.

Read the transcript.

 

About the Author

Eviatar Zerubavel is Board of Governors and Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Rutgers University. His many books include Social Mindscapes: An Invitation to Cognitive Sociology and The Elephant in the Room: Silence and Denial in Everyday Life.