Youth Movements and Generational Politics, 19th–21st Centuries

Youth Movements and Generational Politics, 19th–21st Centuries

Edited by Richard G. Braungart & Margaret M. Braungart

Youth Movements and Generational Politics, 19th–21st Centuries by Richard and Margaret Braungart is a collection of 19 of their previously published research articles on youthful political activism, generational conflict and social change—from the first student movement in Germany in 1815 to the international eruption of youth unrest and demonstrations in the 21st century. A concluding chapter assesses the global trends and worldwide surge in youth movement activity from 2000 to 2020, which is then put into perspective in relation to previous historical generations of youthful political unrest.

Hardback, 580 Pages


April 2023

£120.00, $200.00

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About This Book

Youth Movements and Generational Politics, 19th21st Centuries by Richard and Margaret Braungart is a collection of 19 of their previously published research articles on youthful political activism, generational conflict, and social change, from the first student movement in Germany in 1815 to the worldwide surge in youth movement activity in the 21st century. Representing more than 50 years of research, youth movements and generational politics are explored from historical, generational and global perspectives. These articles are theoretically grounded, empirically based, interdisciplinary and comparative. Exploring youth movements at individual, group, societal and international levels, a variety of methodological approaches for studying youth activism are illustrated in their research. In a concluding chapter, the Braungarts update youth movement activity in the 21st century and discuss how their previous research informs the new global increase in youthful mobilization over politics. The trends and changes in youth unrest and generational politics are assessed now and into the future.

The focus in the anthology is on young people's development and generational relations as a fundamental force for societal and political change. Drawing from both theory and research in sociology, social psychology, human development and history, the articles were chosen to help readers better understand young people by identifying their political attitudes and behavior and the commonalities they share in their movements for change. Based on an extensive survey of youth movements from 1815 to the 21st century, a number of articles identify the patterns and dynamics of youthful political behavior over time in each world region. It is hoped that by understanding youth movements in history, readers are better prepared to make sense of and respond to the expected global rise in youthful political unrest. Youth movements have toppled governments and revolutionized societies, always bringing with them the potential for greater democracy and societal reforms as well as injury, death and destruction.

Despite the rise in youth movement activity over the past 200 years and considerable discussion, media attention and research, it is difficult to formulate an accurate and balanced perspective on why young people mobilize during certain eras but not others, and why youthful political activism is often characterized by generational conflict and violence. Although there are excellent empirical studies on specific youth movements, the research tends to be fragmented into different disciplines and widely scattered among countries. As a collection, the articles selected for this anthology are interdisciplinary, comparative and provide a systematic study of the issues over which young people have mobilized. Common patterns of youth movement activity are identified from 1815 , and youth activism is examined from moral, ideological, generational and life-course development perspectives. Taking a variety of methodological approaches, the articles in this anthology demonstrate that to understand youth movements and generational politics in modern societies, it is necessary to appreciate (1) young people's developmental characteristics, needs and relationship to adults; (2) the historical and societal context in which they are coming of age; and (3) the reasons why youth are drawn to social change. The articles in this anthology address these issues.


“This book provides a macro view of the study of youth movement with extensive empirical research data across time and space, and contains research methods of qualitative and quantitative research. It will provide rich academic nutrition for interested readers. The book reminds us that the need will only increase to understand why youth movements erupt as the world becomes more interconnected, inequitable, and fraught with massive problems—climate change; the environment; displaced refugees; wars and terrorism; youth bulges; new diseases; pandemics; and social, political, and economic crises not yet imagined.” —Dr. Jiaming Sun, Texas A & M University, US

“This remarkable book, based upon decades of meticulous empirical research, provides a comprehensive analysis of linkages between youth and politics in the United States and abroad. It is an essential reading for anyone interested in the study of youth movements and political generations around the globe.” — Olena Nikolayenko, Fordham University, US

Author Information

Richard G. Braungart is professor emeritus in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University, USA. His research on 1960s' youth movements, generational politics, and historical and global patterns of youth activism has received worldwide recognition. 

Margaret M. Braungart is professor emerita at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York, and a founding faculty member of the Center for Bioethics and Humanities. She has authored and coauthored numerous articles on youth movements that have been translated into many languages.


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations; Preface; Introduction; PART 1: YOUTH MOVEMENTS AND YOUTH POLITICS, 1 Youth and Social Movements; 2 Moderate-Extreme and Left-Right Sources of Youth Politics: A Typology; 3 Moral Development and Youth Activism; 4 Activists and the History of the Future; 5 Reference Group, Social Judgment, and Student Politics; 6 From Protest to Terrorism: The Case of SDS and the Weathermen; 7 Youth Movements in the 1980s: A Global Perspective; 8 Youth Problems and Politics in the 1980s: Some Multinational Comparisons; PART 2: HISTORICAL GENERATIONS AND POLITICAL GENERATIONS, 9 Historical Generations and Youth Movements: A Theoretical Perspective; 10 Historical Generations and Generation Units: A Global Pattern of Youth Movements; 11 Historical Generations and Citizenship: 200 Years of Youth Movements; 12 Political Generations; 13 Political Generational Themes in the American Student Movements of the 1930s and 1960s; 14 European Youth Movements in the 1980s: A Political Generational Perspective; 15 Generational Conflict and Intergroup Relations as the Foundation for Political Generations; PART 3: LIFE-COURSE POLITICS, 16 Aging and Politics; 17 Why Youth in Youth Movements?; 18 The Life-Course Development of Left-and Right-Wing Youth Activist Leaders from the 1960s; 19 Conceptional and Methodological Approaches to Studying Life Course and Generational Politics; Conclusion; Index


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