HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Talking 'bout your Genera...

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 10:25 AM

Talking 'bout your Generations

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation

A generation is "all of the people born and living at about the same time, regarded collectively". It can also be described as, "the average period, generally considered to be about thirty years, during which children are born and grow up, become adults, and begin to have children of their own". In kinship terminology, it is a structural term designating the parent-child relationship. It is also known as biogenesis, reproduction, or procreation in the biological sciences.

"Generation" is also often used synonymously with cohort in social science; under this formulation it means "people within a delineated population who experience the same significant events within a given period of time". Generations in this sense of birth cohort, also known as "social generations", are widely used in popular culture, and have been the basis for sociological analysis. Serious analysis of generations began in the nineteenth century, emerging from an increasing awareness of the possibility of permanent social change and the idea of youthful rebellion against the established social order. Some analysts believe that a generation is one of the fundamental social categories in a society, while others view its importance as being overshadowed by other factors including class, gender, race, and education, among others.

<snip>

Social generation
Social generations are cohorts of people born in the same date range and who share similar cultural experiences. The idea of a social generation, in the sense that it is used today, gained currency in the 19th century. Prior to that the concept "generation" had generally referred to family relationships and not broader social groupings. In 1863, French lexicographer Emile Littré had defined a generation as, "all people coexisting in society at any given time".

Several trends promoted a new idea of generations, as the 19th century wore on, of a society divided into different categories of people based on age. These trends were all related to the processes of modernisation, industrialisation, or westernisation, which had been changing the face of Europe since the mid-18th century. One was a change in mentality about time and social change. The increasing prevalence of enlightenment ideas encouraged the idea that society and life were changeable, and that civilization could progress. This encouraged the equation of youth with social renewal and change. Political rhetoric in the 19th century often focused on the renewing power of youth influenced by movements such as Young Italy, Young Germany, Sturm und Drang, the German Youth Movement, and other romantic movements. By the end of the 19th century, European intellectuals were disposed toward thinking of the world in generational terms—in terms of youth rebellion and emancipation.

Two important contributing factors to the change in mentality were the change in the economic structure of society. Because of the rapid social and economic change, young men particularly were less beholden to their fathers and family authority than they had been. Greater social and economic mobility allowed them to flout their authority to a much greater extent than had traditionally been possible. Additionally, the skills and wisdom of fathers were often less valuable than they had been due to technological and social change. During this time, the period between childhood and adulthood, usually spent at university or in military service, was also increased for many people entering white-collar jobs. This category of people was very influential in spreading the ideas of youthful renewal.

Another important factor was the breakdown of traditional social and regional identifications. The spread of nationalism and many of the factors that created it (a national press, linguistic homogenisation, public education, suppression of local particularities) encouraged a broader sense of belonging beyond local affiliations. People thought of themselves increasingly as part of a society, and this encouraged identification with groups beyond the local.Auguste Comte was the first philosopher to make a serious attempt to systematically study generations. In Cours de philosophie positive Comte suggested that social change is determined by generational change and in particular conflict between successive generations. As the members of a given generation age, their "instinct of social conservation" becomes stronger, which inevitably and necessarily brings them into conflict with the "normal attribute of youth"—innovation. Other important theorists of the 19th century were John Stuart Mill and Wilhelm Dilthey.

Sociologist Karl Mannheim was a seminal figure in the study of generations. He elaborated a theory of generations in his 1923 essay The Problem of Generations. He suggested that there had been a division into two primary schools of study of generations until that time. Firstly, positivists such as Comte measured social change in designated life spans. Mannheim argued that this reduced history to "a chronological table". The other school, the "romantic-historical" was represented by Dilthey and Martin Heidegger. This school focused on the individual qualitative experience at the expense of social context. Mannheim emphasised that the rapidity of social change in youth was crucial to the formation of generations, and that not every generation would come to see itself as distinct. In periods of rapid social change a generation would be much more likely to develop a cohesive character. He also believed that a number of distinct sub-generations could exist.

According to Gilleard and Higgs, Mannheim identified three commonalities that a generation shares:

Shared temporal location – generational site or birth cohort
Shared historical location – generation as actuality or exposure to a common era
Shared sociocultural location – generational consciousness or "entelechy"


Authors William Strauss and Neil Howe developed the Strauss-Howe generational theory outlining what they saw as a pattern of generations repeating throughout American history. This theory became quite influential with the public and reignited an interest in the sociology of generations. This led to the creation of an industry of consulting, publishing, and marketing in the field. The theory has alternatively been criticized by social scientists and journalists who argue it is non-falsifiable, deterministic, and unsupported by rigorous evidence.

<snip>

Generational tension
Norman Ryder, writing in American Sociological Review in 1965, shed light on the sociology of the discord between generations by suggesting that society "persists despite the mortality of its individual members, through processes of demographic metabolism and particularly the annual infusion of birth cohorts". He argued that generations may sometimes be a "threat to stability" but at the same time they represent "the opportunity for social transformation". Ryder attempted to understand the dynamics at play between generations.

Amanda Grenier, in a 2007 essay published in Journal of Social Issues, offered another source of explanation for why generational tensions exist. Grenier asserted that generations develop their own linguistic models that contribute to misunderstanding between age cohorts, "Different ways of speaking exercised by older and younger people exist, and may be partially explained by social historical reference points, culturally determined experiences, and individual interpretations".

Karl Mannheim, in his 1952 book Essays on the Sociology of Knowledge asserted the belief that people are shaped through lived experiences as a result of social change. Howe and Strauss also have written on the similarities of people within a generation being attributed to social change. Based on the way these lived experiences shape a generation in regard to values, the result is that the new generation will challenge the older generation's values, resulting in tension. This challenge between generations and the tension that arises is a defining point for understanding generations and what separates them.

List of generations
Western world


This photograph depicts four generations of one family: a baby boy, his mother, his maternal grandmother, and his maternal great-grandmother. (2008)

"Western world" can be taken to include Europe, America, Australia and New Zealand. Many variations may exist within these regions, both geographically and culturally, which means that the list is broadly indicative, but very general. The contemporary characterization of these cohorts used in media and advertising borrows, in part, from the Strauss–Howe generational theory and generally follows the logic of the pulse-rate hypothesis.

The Lost Generation, also known as the Generation of 1914 in Europe, is a term originating with Gertrude Stein to describe those who fought in World War I. The members of the lost generation were typically born between 1883 and 1900. All members of this generation are now deceased.

The Greatest Generation, which was once better known as the "G.I. Generation," are those who include the veterans who fought in World War II. They were born from around 1901 to 1927 and came of age during the Great Depression. Journalist Tom Brokaw wrote about American members of this cohort in his book, The Greatest Generation, which popularized the term.

The Silent Generation, also known as the Lucky Few, were born from approximately 1925 to 1942. It includes some who fought in World War II, most of those who fought the Korean War and many during the Vietnam War.

Baby Boomers, also known as the Me Generation, are the generation that were born mostly following World War II, typically born from 1946 to 1964. Increased birth rates were observed during the post–World War II baby boom making them a relatively large demographic cohort.

Generation X, commonly abbreviated to Gen X, is the generation following the baby boomers. Demographers and researchers typically use starting birth years ranging from the early-to-mid 1960s and ending birth years in the early 1980s. The term has also been used in different times and places for a number of different subcultures or countercultures since the 1950s.

In the U.S., some called Xers the "baby bust" generation because of a drop in birth rates following the baby boom. The drop in fertility rates in America began in the late 1950s. But according to authors and demographers William Strauss and Neil Howe (who use a twenty year span from 1961 to 1981 for their birth years), by 1991 there were approximately 88.5 million Xers in the U.S.

Millennials, also known as Generation Y, are the cohort of people following Generation X. Demographers and researchers typically use the early 1980s as starting birth years and the mid 1990s to early 2000s as ending birth years. According to Pew Research, in 2019, the Millennials will surpass the Baby Boomers in size in the U.S., with 72 million Boomers and 73 million Millennials.

Generation Z is the cohort of people born after the Millennials. Demographers and researchers typically use the mid-1990s to early-2000s as a starting birth years. There is little consensus regarding ending birth years.


Which Generation do you belong to? I'm an Xer...
54 votes, 0 passes | Time left: Unlimited
The Greatest Generation
0 (0%)
The Silent Generation
7 (13%)
Baby Boomers
31 (57%)
Generation X
15 (28%)
Millennials
1 (2%)
Generation Z
0 (0%)
Show usernames
Disclaimer: This is an Internet poll

18 replies, 564 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 18 replies Author Time Post
Reply Talking 'bout your Generations (Original post)
Dennis Donovan Jun 8 OP
TruckFump Jun 8 #1
Turin_C3PO Jun 8 #2
Dennis Donovan Jun 8 #13
snowybirdie Jun 8 #3
Dennis Donovan Jun 8 #5
marybourg Jun 8 #8
area51 Jun 8 #4
Dennis Donovan Jun 8 #6
Different Drummer Jun 8 #11
PoindexterOglethorpe Jun 8 #7
Dennis Donovan Jun 8 #9
PoindexterOglethorpe Jun 8 #16
alfie Jun 8 #10
Dennis Donovan Jun 8 #12
Amishman Jun 8 #14
PoindexterOglethorpe Jun 8 #17
appalachiablue Jun 8 #18
demmiblue Jun 8 #15

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 10:26 AM

1. Baby Boomer here! EOM

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 10:27 AM

2. Old millennial here!

Born in 1983...

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Turin_C3PO (Reply #2)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 02:04 PM

13. Gramps!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 10:45 AM

3. I don't have a generation!

One designation ends a year before my birth and the next one starts three years after. So I'll just give myself a new name.......the Bestest Generation!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to snowybirdie (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 10:46 AM

5. Seconded!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to snowybirdie (Reply #3)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 11:02 AM

8. Pick the one you like better.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 10:46 AM

4. Boomer, tho technically

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to area51 (Reply #4)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 10:48 AM

6. We're all Generation Jones...

...as in Jonesing for a new POTUS.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to area51 (Reply #4)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 11:51 AM

11. Ditto. Born in 11/20/61. n/t

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 10:57 AM

7. You might want to read the book Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069

by Neil Howe and William Strauss. It came out in 1992 and isn't dated at all.

They spend a long time setting up their theory of generations and go into great detail as to how they assign the birth years for each. They knew that the Millennial generation was still being born when it came out, but they made a reasonable projection as to the years for that cohort.

I find that I can often make great sense of things by being aware of what generation someone belongs to.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to PoindexterOglethorpe (Reply #7)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 11:09 AM

9. With the remembrance of D-Day and the Greatest Generation, it re-sparked my interest in it...

The book sounds fascinating!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #9)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 04:36 PM

16. It is simply the most informative thing I've ever read. I have to be careful

I don't start behaving like someone who's trying to convert everyone else to her new religion.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 11:46 AM

10. Yikes...I am not in any of the listed generations

I was born in 1944...Silent generation ended in '42, Baby boomers started in '46.

What about us???

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alfie (Reply #10)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 11:55 AM

12. I think you are, technically, a Boomer.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alfie (Reply #10)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 02:38 PM

14. You're just old :)



I'm a disrespectful millennial

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alfie (Reply #10)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 04:37 PM

17. Read Generations by Strauss and Howe.

They start the baby boom generation at 1943 and end it in 1960. They use those years because the feel that it's the generational experience that matters a whole lot more when the demographic boom happened.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to alfie (Reply #10)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 05:08 PM

18. You're on the cusp as with astrology zodiac signs; pick one you like.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Sat Jun 8, 2019, 04:22 PM

15. I wish there were more younger folks here, but I don't think that is going to happen.

I kind of feel like DU is aging out (traffic seems to be way down).

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread