The concept of generations is one that has been debated by historians and sociologists for some time.
Karl Mannheim’s influential work conceptualized generation as ‘a social creation rather than a biological necessity’ (1952: 309; see Kertzer 1983): a birth cohort only forms a ‘generation’ if it is shaped by novel or dramatic historical circumstances and becomes identified in generational terms. But the precise way in which this occurs requires further research. For example, just how some ‘generational cohorts’ such as ‘Baby Boomers’ come to develop a shared consciousness and take an active historical role shaped by their specific location in time and space is not yet clear.
There is general agreement that generational differences in cultural ‘taste’ (Bourdieu 1984) and resources affect social change, and are significant in conflict and cohesion as well as in mobility and value transmission, but these differences and their consequences have rarely been analysed in any detail.
- What is life in Australia like for you? Have you lived in different places in Australia? What kind of work do you do? Have you come to Australia from overseas? Why? Has it been easy or hard? What moments in your life have been significant? In a new national project historians at Monash and La ... Read more
- The limited international research has focused on youth culture, childrearing and ageing (Eisenstadt 1956; Scott 2000) or on elites (Edmunds and Turner 2002), rather than on a wider range of people and issues. In suggesting that generation may be more important than class in analysing social change, Edmunds and Turner argue that ‘the time seems ... Read more
- Generations and Australian History This is the first major national project to investigate intergenerational dynamics and the impact of dramatic social, technological and environmental changes on the experiences and attitudes of succeeding Australian Generations. Although the Bicentennial History Project of the 1980s, and the People’s History written in reaction to it, considered aspects of the history of ... Read more
- Oral history is widely recognised as an important methodology for such a history, as recorded oral histories provide access to social groups that areunder-represented in documentary archives and illuminates intimate lives and subjectivity (Thompson 2000). Australian Generations builds upon the work of previous national oral history projects, including the BritishMillennium Memory Bank and Australia’s first national oral ... Read more