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Title: The idea of "a progressive generation" : the case of American women social reformers
Author: Day, R. A.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis aims to test the assumption that Progressive Era social reform was a product of "a generation" of reformers. It applies theoretical formulations advanced by socialists and historians, to a specific group of women progressive social reformers who have been characterised as a generation in a fashion common to the treatment of generations in the historiography on progressivism in general. The working hypothesis is that the concept of generation has no meaningful application to the period and has simply been used for rhetorical and literary effect by commentators within and following the Progressive Era. The methodology adopted consists of the following: the selection of a "prime generation candidate" i.e. a tight homogeneous grouping of reformers, of the same sex, roughly the same age, bound together by a dense interlocking network of agencies and institutions, and portrayed as members of a "progressive generation" by historians; the application to this group of generational criteria established by theorists: the subsequent examination of the limitations of the generational criteria to explain important aspects of the individual members' motivation, similarities, differences, decisions, preferences and actions. Chapter one surveys the use of the concept of "generation" by historians of the Progressive Era, and examines theoretical formulations of the concept of "generation" that have been advanced by social scientists and historians; the object being to establish that a "generational question" does indeed loom over Progressive Era social reform and over women's social reform in particular. In chapter two the sample of women social reformers to whom these theoretical formulations are to be applied is selected and the criteria on which the selection is made is justified.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available