"change agent," 1950 (1949)

Geoffrey Nunberg nunberg at SIMS.BERKELEY.EDU
Sat Jan 12 20:23:14 UTC 2008

The OED gives 1959 for the earliest cite.

This from a footnote in "Some Observations on the
Relationship Between Social Science and
Intergroup Education," by  Don J. Hager ; Journal
of Educational Sociology, Vol. 23, No. 5. (Jan.,
1950), pp. 278-290. After citing a work called
Group Processes in Supervision (Association for
Supervision and Curriculum Development, NEA),
Washington D. C. 1949, the author continues:

This volume is a treasure of naïve concepts
concerning human behavior. It is further
characterized by a low level of scholarship and
problem formulation. The authors of this
catalogue of nonsense are also responsible for
the creation and perpetuation of such gems as
"effective living," "social engineering,"
"Talk-Democracy," "Do-Democracy," "Consent
Democracy," "change agent," "action-research,"
and, of course, not only "group processes" but
"<i>effective</i> group processes," not
"thinking" but "<i>critical</i> thinking," not
"living" but "<i>effective</i> or
<i>ever-enriched</i>" living, not "democracy" but
"<i>real</i>" or "<i>true</i>" democracy, and so

I have traced "change agent" as applied to
presidential candidates as far back as Dukakis in

Geoff Nunberg

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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