Women Social Activists of Atlantic Canada: Stories of Re-Enchantment, Authenticity, and Hope


  • Shauna Butterwick University of British Columbia
  • Maren Elfert University of British Columbia




social movement learning, feminist perspectives


In this paper, we offer our analysis of the profiles of 27 elder women social activists of Atlantic Canada, profiles that were created by Dr. Liz Burge. Our goal is to honor these women and to inform, and hopefully inspire, others involved in social activism. We hope our research will contribute to the growing field of inquiry in adult education into feminist approaches to social movement learning (SML). We found these social activists’ engagements were powerfully shaped by their families’ values, initial experiences of finding voice and “speaking up”, and both formal and informal learning about effective approaches for political engagement. The stories speak to a social activism where the personal is political and the boundaries between the private and the public sphere are blurred. These women’s profiles, we argue, resist the ‘malaise of modernity’, specifically its glorification of individualism, disenchantment with the world, and retreat from political engagement. In their stories we see a process of re-enchantment that involves a search for authenticity fueled by hope.

Author Biography

Shauna Butterwick, University of British Columbia

Associate Professor, Department of Educational Studies, University of British Columbia


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How to Cite

Butterwick, S., & Elfert, M. (2014). Women Social Activists of Atlantic Canada: Stories of Re-Enchantment, Authenticity, and Hope. Canadian Journal for the Study of Adult Education, 27(1), 65–82. https://doi.org/10.56105/cjsae.v27i1.3338

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