Generations in History: Reflections on a Controversial Concept

History and Theory 24 (3):273-292 (1985)
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Abstract

If one renounces the ambitious goal to derive a universal, historical rhythm from a biological, generational succession, an examination of limited phenomena from a generational perspective will frequently turn out to be productive. New developments in intellectual history and in the history of art will tend to be represented by new age cohorts. In political, economic, and social history, generational communities are often less easily recognizable. Pronounced generational breaks which may affect an entire society apparently occur only after decisive historical events, such as wars, revolutions, and great economic crises. Even then, a generation is most easily recognized where it is clearly articulated

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