Wednesday, July 04, 2018

generation units, Mannheim

some members of an age span experience historical events
much more acutely than others; they will be more directly exposed
to events or more capable of giving them age-related meaning than
their peers. And where such minorities have opportunities for
mutual communication and association they may become the
articulators of new perspectives for their age span as a whole - the
class of 1938 in the Egyptian Military Academy would be an
example. These minorities who serve as the vanguard of generations
and potential generations constitute what Mannheim called
generation units. The point of importance about such units is that
their location in the social system cannot be adequately specified on
the basis of age alone. Age is a necessary but not a sufficient condition
for their development. Other variables such as class, status,
religion, occupation, institutional milieu, in short the traditional
categories of social structural analysis, must be introduced to explain
their unique sensitivity to common historical experiences.
@Abrams, P. (1970). Rites de Passage:The Conflict of Generations in Industrial Society. Journal of Contemporary History, 5(1), 175-190. doi: 10.1177/002200947000500112

Generational units --- individuals within such generations who shared a common outlook on the basis of their common experience
Generational units as agents of social change
Fresh contact: each generational unit makes with the society at the time its members reach maturity; Over time, a succession of waves of new individuals reach adulthood, coming at that time into contact with the prevailing culture and remodeling what they find;  
@(Kertzer, 1983)

Karl Mannheim (1952()

Mannheim (1927/1952) used the term generation
to describe what he referred to as a group that shares “a common location in
the social and historical process (which exposes them) to a specific range of
potential experience [italics added], predisposing them for a certain characteristic
model of thought and experience, and a characteristic type of historically-relevant
action” (p. 291).
Mannheim’s (1927/1952) argument is that these early formative influences
contributing to a particular Zeitgeist (or worldview) are strong and that youth is a
particularly impressionable period in the life span in which there is considerable
more openness to change compared to other stages in life. Many believe that not
only is youth a period of “plasticity” but that these early experiences are the most 
powerful in terms of their lasting influences on human tendencies 

Mannheim, K. (1952). The problem of generations. In P. Kecskemeti (Ed.), Essays in the sociology
of knowledge (pp. 276–322). Boston: Routledge & Kegan Paul. (Original work published 1927)

generational unit, meaning a group of people identified by themselves and others as part of a social movement or organizational unit that produces social changes in culture, norms, and behavior

the unique historical and
social events happening during the period of youth undoubtedly play a strong
role in shaping human lives. This does not mean, however, that all people
growing up during a particular time period are influenced by those historical
and social events or that they are influenced in the same ways. Certainly, some
eras and social movements provide potentially potent experiences for youth
during particular times. The political ideologies formed during Roosevelt’s New
Deal in the 1930s and 1940s, the Civil Rights and Feminist movements of
the 1960s and 1970s, the 1973 pro-choice Supreme Court decision in Roe
vs. Wade, or the environmentalist movement of the 1970s and 1980s are all
examples of particular historical stimuli to the development of such worldviews
during specific historical periods (see Alwin & McCammon, 2003, pp. 40–41).
It is not, however, simply the influence of these historical and social events
on society that interests us here—it is their distinctive impact on the youth

of the period.

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