vocabularies of motive
vocabularies of motivethe verbalizations and terminologies employed by social actors, not only to describe their motives but to persuade others as to the acceptability of their actions. As used by MILLS (1940), such vocabularies of motivation do not refer to the universal psychic structure of the human organism, rather they are the typical terms in which, in particular societies, actors justify their actions. It is suggested by Gerth and Mills (1953) that these vocabularies become embedded in our individual and collective psychic structure, but in particular, rather than universal, ways.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000