Title: Cykle pokoleniowe w czasie i przestrzeni = Generation cycles in time and space


Kowalski, Mariusz

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Przegląd Geograficzny T. 88 z. 4 (2016)



Place of publishing:



24 cm


There are many different domains of science whose elaborated theoretical concepts assume that development (understood in terms of the definite succession of processes and transformations (Taylor and Flint, 2000; Domański, 2005) is of a cyclical nature. Among these concepts, the one entailing generation cycles looks most convincing. Thus, in the view of co-authors William Strauss and Neil Howe (1991, 1997), social change is driven by generation cycles of 15-25 years’ duration, albeit coming together into phases some 80 years long termed saecula. M. Alexander in turn maintains that a saeculum corresponds to one Kondratieff cycle, and has also designated 36-year paradigmatic cycles identical to those found for the New York Stock Exchange. The latter are shown to comprise approximately two Strauss-Howe cycles. It is in turn Wojciech Białek (2009) who has applied the term “generation cycle” to these cycles of roughly 36 years’ duration, given that this length of time concurs with geneticists’ recently established average difference in age between consecutive generations (Tremblay and Vezina, 2000). Where the historical experience of Polish society is concerned, the existence of a 30-40 year generation cycle governing political and cultural life would not represent a truly new discovery. Norman Davies (1984, 1995) notes that: “There is no doubt that the wheel of political fortune in nineteenth-century Poland revolved with a regularity beyond the bounds of mere coincidence”. In his opinion, therefore: “strong credence must be given to the idea that the regular alternation of the two dominant ideologies was closely associated with the rise and fall of successive generations”. (…) “Neither Romantics nor Positivists could ever enjoy a run of more than three or four decades before disillusionment and failure destroyed their supremacy, and gave an opening for the revival of their opponents”. The cyclical character of definite processes observed under both Polish and American conditions in fact emerges as of a universal nature, finding its analogies throughout the world, though first and foremost within the European cultural circle. It is also possible to speak of its far reaching synchronicity, encompassing change on both local and global scales. This is witnessed by successive culminations of cycles with the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars, the revolutionary surges of the 1830s and 1840s, the events of the 1860s and 1870s, the turbulences and wars of the early 20th century (notably World War I), then World War II, the great transformations of the 1980s, and the recently observed increase in political tension in various parts of the world (e.g. t e Middle East, Ukraine, etc.). In the economic sphere the symptoms are shifts in the business climate, which can even be calculated by reference to quantitative indicators. Then, in the sphere of culture, it is possible to denote successive periods in literature and the arts. In the political sphere in turn, events that shape the state or territorial order are to be observed readily. The present article thus seeks to propose the existence of a universal and synchronous 36-year generation cycle, which manifests itself in real symptoms in the world of politics, and for instance in the cyclicity seen to characterise intensit of change on the political map of Europe.


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Przegląd Geograficzny





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oai:rcin.org.pl:61606 ; 0033-2143 (print) ; 2300-8466 (on-line) ; 10.7163/PrzG.2016.4.4


CBGiOS. IGiPZ PAN, sygn.: Cz.181, Cz.3136, Cz.4187 ; click here to follow the link



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Copyright-protected material. [CC BY 3.0 PL] May be used within the scope specified in Creative Commons Attribution BY 3.0 PL license, full text available at: ; -

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Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization of the Polish Academy of Sciences

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Central Library of Geography and Environmental Protection. Institute of Geography and Spatial Organization PAS

Projects co-financed by:

Programme Innovative Economy, 2010-2014, Priority Axis 2. R&D infrastructure ; European Union. European Regional Development Fund



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