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Generations and Collective Memories

Howard Schuman and Jacqueline Scott
American Sociological Review
Vol. 54, No. 3 (Jun., 1989), pp. 359-381
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095611
Page Count: 23
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Generations and Collective Memories
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Abstract

A national sample of adult Americans was asked to report "the national or world events or changes over the past 50 years" that seemed to them especially important, and then to explain the reasons for their choices. The resulting data are used both quantitatively and qualitatively to explore hypotheses related to generational effects, life course, and collective memory. Broadly speaking, different cohorts recall different events or changes, and these memories come especially from adolescence and early adulthood. The reasons for mentioning various events and changes also differ across cohorts in ways that indicate that generational effects are the result of the intersection of personal and national history.

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