Outdoor Literature


Generations: Social Movements






Social Movements

From: Strauss, William and Howe, Neil. Generations: The History of America's Future. New York: William Morrow, 1991

Two Types of Social Movements:

Social movements separated by two phases of life and occur approximately every 40-45 years.  Secular Crises and Spiritual Awakenings alternate with one another.

Secular Crises

Real world threat.  Widespread fear for personal and social survival.  Causes collective unity in face of a peril.  Results in sudden institutional change.

American Revolution (1773-1789)
Civil War (1857-1865)
Great Depression-World World II (1932-1945)

Spiritual Awakenings

Periods of cultural revitalization beginning with a general crisis of beliefs and values.  Results in a profound reorientation in beliefs and values.  Unlike a secular crisis, spiritual awakenings are driven by sudden value changes and society-wide effort to re-capture a feeling of spiritual authenticity. The emphasis is not on institutions but rather the spirit.

Transcendental (1832-1837)
Missionary (1886-1903)
Boom Awakening (1967-1980)

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