Generation at the Crossroads: Apathy and Action on the American Campus

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Challenging prevailing media stereotypes, Generation at the Crossroads explores the beliefs and choices of the students who came of age in the 1980s and 1990s. For seven years, at over a hundred campuses in thirty states, Paul Loeb asked students about the values they held. He examines their concepts of responsibility, the links they draw between present and future, and how they view themselves in relation to the larger human community in which they live. He brings us a range of voices, from "I'm not that kind of person," to "I had to take a stand." Loeb looks at how the rest of us can serve young people as better role models, and given them courage and vision to help build a better world. This insightful book explores the culture of withdrawal that dominated American campuses through most of the eighties. He locates its roots in historical ignorance, relentless individualism, mistrust of social movements, and a general isolation from urgent realities. He examines why a steadily increasing minority has begun to take on critical public issues, whether environmental activism, apartheid, hunger and homelessness, affordable education, or racial and sexual equity. Loeb looks at individuals who have overcome precisely the barriers he has described, and how their journeys can become models. The generational choices he explores will shape our common future.

During a seven-year study, Loeb asked students at more than a hundred campuses in 30 states about the values they held. Examining their concepts of responsibility, the links they draw between present and future, and how they view themselves in the larger human community, Loeb describes the generational choices that will shape our common future.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Loeb's portrayal of the so-called Generation X debunks the myth of a generation immersed in apathy and cynicism, arguing instead that activism on many important issues is alive and well on the American college campus. (Sept.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813522562
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 8/28/1995
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 472
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Beyond the myths 1
Bk. 1 I'm not that kind of person
1 You make your own chances: Wealth as an educational goal 11
2 You don't have a say: Individualism as survival 20
3 I feel a little fearful: The reluctance to speak 27
4 The right kind of friends: Climbing the economic ladder 39
5 America on the slide: Coping with decline 44
6 Divided loyalties: Making it from the bottom 56
7 The broken connection: History and memory 68
8 Spitting on soldiers?: Vietnam revisited 77
9 An unsentimental education: Ethical detachment in the classroom 89
10 I'll work from within: Involvement deferred 101
11 Diminished dreams: Shaping a culture of retreat 115
Bk. 2 I had to take a stand
Introduction: A stake in the future 127
12 Fighting for the land: Farm activism returns 131
13 Greeks for peace: Social concern on fraternity row 145
14 Crossing the line: The genesis of student activists 157
15 A house still divided: The campus politics of race 177
16 The world of the activists: Communities of concern 207
17 Tangible fruits: The community service movement 231
18 Shades of green: The tree huggers and the politicos 248
Bk. 3 World in motion
Introduction: Uncertain times 261
19 Coming back to concern: The resurgence of student involvement 263
20 I don't want to be a biscuit babe: The CUNY strikes 286
21 Whose history, whose voice?: The politics of political correctness 331
22 Sustaining the vision: Every generation changes the world 367
Notes 401
Acknowledgments 439
Index 443
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