Political correctness has become a fighting word used to dismiss and discredit
political opponents. The article traces the conceptual history of this fighting
word. In anthropological terms, it describes the social life of the concept of political correctness
and its negation, political incorrectness. It does so by adopting a concept-in-motion
methodology, which involves tracking the concept through various cultural and
political regimes. It represents an attempt to synthesize well-established historiographic
and anthropological approaches. A Swedish case is introduced that reveals the kind of
large-scale historical movements and deep-seated political conflicts that provide the
contemporary context for political correctness and its negation. Thereupon follows an
account of the conceptual history of political correctness from the eighteenth century
up to the present. Instead of a conventional conclusion, the article ends with a political
analysis of the current rise of fascism around the world and how the denunciation of
political correctness is both indicative of and instrumental in this process.
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