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The Continuity of Change? New Perspectives on U.S. Reform Movements

Charlotte Lerg, Jana Weiß

Pages 551 - 566



This publication is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License Attribution - NonCommercial - NoDerivatives 4.0.

Throughout U.S. history, reform movements have been caught between calls for renewal and the fear of destabilization, between community action and personal interest. Reforms rarely follow a linear path; they may look backward or forward, invoking the promise of a return to a supposedly better past or the creation of an imagined brighter future. Our introductory article calls for more complexity in conceptualizing reform movements by allowing for multiple perspectives and more fluid categories when it comes to determining temporality, scope and reach, as well as structures and agency. By keeping in mind historical and contextual differences, our article brings together the multifaceted contributions to this special issue and positions them within a framework for reform shaped by sociological as well as historical discourse.

Keywords: reform movements; historiography; intersectionality; nineteenth century; twentieth century

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