Generations And Collective Memory by Amy CorningGenerations And Collective Memory by Amy Corning

Generations And Collective Memory

byAmy Corning, Howard Schuman

Paperback | August 31, 2015

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When discussing large social trends or experiences, we tend to group people into generations. But what does it mean to be part of a generation, and what gives that group meaning and coherence? It's collective memory, say Amy Corning and Howard Schuman, and in Generations and Collective Memory, they draw on an impressive range of research to show how generations share memories of formative experiences, and how understanding the way those memories form and change can help us understand society and history.

Their key finding—built on historical research and interviews in the United States and seven other countries (including China, Japan, Germany, Lithuania, Russia, Israel, and Ukraine)—is that our most powerful generational memories are of shared experiences in adolescence and early adulthood, like the 1963 Kennedy assassination for those born in the 1950s or the fall of the Berlin Wall for young people in 1989. But there are exceptions to that rule, and they're significant: Corning and Schuman find that epochal events in a country, like revolutions, override the expected effects of age, affecting citizens of all ages with a similar power and lasting intensity.

The picture Corning and Schuman paint of collective memory and its formation is fascinating on its face, but it also offers intriguing new ways to think about the rise and fall of historical reputations and attitudes toward political issues.
Amy Corning is a research investigator at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. She resides in Virginia. Howard Schuman is professor of sociology and research scientist emeritus at the University of Michigan. He is the author of many books, including, most recently, Method and Meaning in Polls and Surveys. He...
Title:Generations And Collective MemoryFormat:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:August 31, 2015Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022628266X

ISBN - 13:9780226282664

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Table of Contents

Authors’ Note
Introduction: The Meanings of Collective Memory and Generation

Part One. Revising Collective Memories

1. Collective Memories and Counter-Memories of Christopher Columbus
2. Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson: Sex, Slavery, and Science
3. Abraham Lincoln: “Honest Abe” versus “the Great Emancipator”

Part Two. The Critical Years and Other Sources of Collective Memory

4. The Critical Years Hypothesis: The Idea and the Evidence
5. Cross-National Replications and Extensions

Part Three. Beyond Critical Years Effects

6. Does Emigration Affect Collective Memory?
7. Generational Experience of War and the Development of New Attitudes
8. Autobiographical Memory versus Collective Memory
9. Collective Knowledge: Findings and Losings
10. Commemoration Matters: The Past in the Present

Closing Reflections

Appendix A: Statistical Testing and Its Limitations
Appendix B: Survey Response Rates
Appendix C: Formal Tests of Critical Years Effects
Appendix D: Robustness of Standard Events Question

Editorial Reviews

“Generations and Collective Memory is a clear and cogent study that adds significantly to the theoretical framework now available to control that slippery term ‘collective memory.’ Marrying the best of Maurice Halbwachs’s thinking on collective memory to the insights of Karl Mannheim on generations, Corning and Schumann go beyond both to develop a notion of the ‘critical years’ from the ages of ten to thirty in the life of an individual, during which she identifies and remembers particular events as important. . . . This well-framed hypothesis and its qualifications are tested against abundant survey material, American, European, and Asian in character, and by and large, their hypothesis is confirmed.”