Generations - Study Guide The Four-Part Cycle Summary & Analysis

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Social moments in history are defined as eras, "typically lasting about a decade, when people perceive that historical events are radically altering their social environment" (p.71). There are two types of social moments. One is termed a secular crisis - an event or events which brings about changes in external behaviors and institutions. The other is a spiritual awakening, when internal values, attitudes, and behaviors are altered.

Superimposed onto this pattern are the actual characteristics of generational types - Idealist, Reactive, Civic and Adaptive, to complete a complex, but predictable, recurring cycle in the generational constellation. The cycles repeat themselves into four recurring patterns, which, as a whole, constitute the generational constellation:

1. AWAKENING ERA: Idealists are coming of age, and they set off a period of cultural growth and new ideals, challenging all traditional institutions and values.

2. INNER-DRIVEN ERA: Reactives are...

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Buy the Generations Study Guide
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