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Residues of a Movement: The Aging of the American Protest Generation

M. Kent Jennings
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 81, No. 2 (Jun., 1987), pp. 367-382
DOI: 10.2307/1961957
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1961957
Page Count: 16
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Residues of a Movement: The Aging of the American Protest Generation
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Abstract

The theory of political generations asserts that enduring and relevant political consequences result from critical experiences during the formative years. This study draws on a national three-wave panel study of young adults surveyed in 1965, 1973, and 1982 to test the theory with respect to the Vietnam era protest movement. College-educated protestors and nonprotestors are compared with themselves and with each other over time. Generational effects are categorized into absolute, relative, and equivalent continuity. Very strong continuities emerge for attitudes associated with the protestors' political baptism. Although erosion effects appear in more contemporary affairs, the protest generation remains quite distinctive. However, its limited size dampens the generation's political impact and qualifies the general thesis in a fashion that probably characterizes other examples of political generations also.

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