These problems are not, strictly speaking, generational issues at all. They are the product of wider economic, social and cultural shifts, which in more political times would have been thought about in terms of the values our society wants to promote, or the kind of policies that should be developed. Presenting them as ‘generational’ issues implies that there is a clear and significant gap between the experiences and expectations of different generations: that society is fragmented along generational lines. It also implies that this presumed gap between the generations is problematic, and that policymakers can and should intervene to address it.
The narrative of ‘Boomer-blaming’, which has been peddled by politicians and commentators from across the political spectrum, seeks a pat explanation for complex social problems, and personalises them in a way that can only incite resentment between the generations. Thus, former higher education minister David Willetts, author of The Pinch: How the Baby Boomers took their children’s future – and why they should give it back, argues that, because of the Baby Boomers’ size and the selfishness of their behaviour, ‘young people are stuck outside, their noses are pressed to the window, unable to get on the housing ladder, into a well-paid job or to build up a pension’.
The more left-leaning Francis Beckett, author of What Did The Baby Boomers Ever Do For Us?, complains that ‘six decades after its birth, the welfare state is in the worst danger it has known’, because of the selfishness of the Boomers: ‘We created a far harsher world for our children to grow up in. It was as though we decided that the freedom and lack of worry that we had inherited was too good for our children, and we pulled up the ladder we had climbed.’
For the British Millennial writers Ed Howker and Shiv Malik, ‘the children of the Baby Boomers, the so-called “Boomer echo”’ – a demographic ‘lump’ that ‘begins in 1979 and continues until 1994’ – is a generation that has been ‘jilted’ out of its rightful future. The American Millennial writer Anya Kamenetz sums up the plight facing ‘Generation Debt’ in the subtitle: ‘How our future was sold out for student loans, bad jobs, no benefits, and tax cuts for rich geezers – and how to fight back’.
Politicising relations between the generations is a destructive pursuit. It encourages people to conceptualise social problems in personal terms: in the case of Boomer-blaming, placing the problems of the world squarely at their parents’ door, and castigating ‘the old’ for standing in the way of ‘the new’. It presents a rigid view of history, in which a younger generation is simply waiting in the wings for its chance to move up ‘the ladder’ – as though life was ever as straightforward and as neatly organised as that.
Dislocation and disorientation provide the basis for generational consciousness; a distinctive interpretation of the Zeitgeist born out of the experience of a time that is out of joint
Generationalism also has an expansionary logic, which means that it is not limited to the critique of one particular generation. In a discourse that presents the problems of the young as the result of the failure of the old to share their wealth, time is a great leveller – give it a few years and today’s ‘young’ will be in the hot-seat, too. Not to mention the backlash: for every article whinging about the myriad ways in which the Millennials have been diddled out of their future by their grasping Boomer parents, there now seems to be another bemoaning the selfish sense of entitlement exhibited by the Millennials, their lack of resilience, and their reluctance to grow up.
But does this mean that we should not be talking about generations at all? No. Properly understood, the concept of generation is a powerful one, which can help to explain how and why people born at different historical moments might work up their experiences in different ways. Understanding the relationship between generations can also take some of the heat out of feverish worries about intergenerational conflict today.
What’s important about generations?
Generations are often discussed as distinct and polarised categories – the ‘older generation’ versus the ‘younger generation’, and so on. But the study of generations is really the study of a series of interactions, all of which occur at once. It involves relations between individual and family, between biology and society, between culture, social structures and historical events; it is shaped by time and place, and given meaning through the context in which it occurs. The concept of generation has been redefined throughout history, and its meaning remains continually contested.
Almost one hundred years ago, the sociologist Karl Mannheim sought to make sense of ‘the problem of generations’ in a way that embraced the very difficulties involved in the study of generations. Their sociological significance, contended Mannheim, could not be comprehended through a focus either on their quantitative existence or their qualitative experience: the sociology of generations is neither a question of numbers, nor the introspective study of everyday life. What matters is the interaction between ‘new participants in the cultural process’, and the society in which these participants are born, develop and, in turn, transform. In this respect, the problem of generations is the problem of knowledge: how we, as a society, ensure that the world lives on through those whom we leave behind.
In this sense, generations are defined neither in the narrow cohort sense (a group of people born around the same time), nor by the more individualised ‘life course’ approach. Rather, following Mannheim, they are defined as historical, or social, generations, whose self-definition is forged by the circumstances in which they come of age. As such, we see the problem of generations as a problem of knowledge – how society’s accumulated cultural heritage is transmitted from generation to generation at a time when the status both of knowledge itself, and those charged with passing it on, is in question.
Mannheim presented the ‘problem of generations’ as a dynamic interaction between cohorts of individuals, the tempo of wider social change and cultural moments (the Zeitgeist). Dislocation and disorientation provide the basis for an emergent generational consciousness; a distinctive interpretation of the Zeitgeist borne out of the experience of coming of age in a time that is, in Hamlet’s terms, out of joint.
So, for example, the ‘Generation of 1914’ was forged by the turbulence of the early 20th century and a traumatic and world-changing war, in which the expectations and experiences of the younger and older generations came starkly into contrast. The Baby Boomers came of age during the social, cultural and political upheavals of the 1960s, and became emblematic of that brash, permissive culture, with their fashion, music and activism. In this sense, the clash of wider social forces can lead to a distinct generational identity. Knowledge stands in question; time seems to shift on its axis. As the historian Arthur Marwick said of the 1960s, ‘I cannot improve upon these two clichés: there has been nothing quite like it; nothing would ever be quite the same again’.
In explaining the way that history could give rise to a distinctive generational consciousness, Mannheim argued that ‘youth experiencing the same concrete historical problems may be said to be part of the same actual generation’. However, those groups within an actual generation, ‘which work up their experiences in different specific ways, constitute separate generation units’. This has proved a powerful insight within the sociology of generations, since it explains how a cohort can experience the same wider events, but develop a different relationship with them. What defines that generation is not the common experience of all of its members, but the way that a particular ‘generation unit’ has most clearly expressed and shaped the Zeitgeist.
For the majority of young people, the conversation between the generations remains as important as ever
So, for example, the fact that the 1960s generation is culturally associated with hippies, the New Left, radical art, adventurous music, loud clothes and long hair does not express the way that all young people lived at that time. Rather, the relatively small group of young people who were involved in the counterculture and student-protest movement came to personify the spirit of the 1960s, and to identify with that moment as their own.
When it comes to making sense of generations, then, we are making sense of moments of history, and the people who are shaped by, and will shape, those moments. It is not a narrow understanding of ‘youth’, because younger people are shaped in their relations with other generations. (It has been argued, for example, that the ‘permissive’ parenting style associated with the Baby Boomers is itself a consequence of the relatively child-centred way in which they themselves were raised, by parents who had lived through the upheavals of war and were struggling to make sense of the changing rules brought by a fragile peace.)
A generational analysis is about knowledge – the relationship between past, present and future; the knowledge that endures and how it is re-made by those who encounter the wisdom of the past for the first time, shape it and make it their own. This brings us back to the question of how generations are defined, and how we might make sense of Generation Z.
The familiar labels attached to various generations – Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials – are bandied around all the time, despite a marked lack of precision about what these labels actually mean. The dates attached to the cohorts represented by these labels vary quite widely. For example, the Baby Boomers in Britain are defined, variously, as those born between 1945 and 1955, and those born between 1945 and 1965. Wikipedia says of the Millennials (also known as Generation Y), that ‘there are no precise dates for when the generation starts and ends; most researchers and commentators use birth years ranging from the early 1980s to around 2000’; while Generation Z is ‘most commonly defined with birth years starting in the mid-1990s, although the early or late 1990s and early 2000s have also been used as starting birth years for this generation’.
There is an ongoing attempt to find new labels for generations: the ‘me generation’ for the Millennials; the digital generation, or i-Gen, for Generation Z. And, of course, everybody wants to be the first to note the emergence of a new generation on the scene, with the implication that something has really changed. This is not a new game: back in 1960, Bennett M Berger mused that ‘from a “Victorian age” spanning about 60 years, we seem to have reached a point where a change in Zeitgeist may be expected at approximately 10-year intervals’.
Given the amount of self-serving nonsense that is involved in labelling generations, there is a temptation not to take it seriously at all – at least until the passage of time has shown that there was, indeed, something distinct about the generation being labelled. But while we should certainly take the labels with a pinch of salt, they do tell us something about how we make sense of the world we live in now.
The implicit assumption that every young person can be explained as a mere product of their times leads to a fatalism among their elders
So, following Mannheim, we can understand how the Boomers, as the 1960s generation, came to develop a distinctive sense of themselves, and in turn shape the Zeitgeist they came to express. But the generation that followed the Boomers – popularly known as Generation X, based on the novel by Canadian writer Douglas Coupland – was defined, if anything, by the absence of agency. This was the ‘slacker’ generation, born and raised during the end of class politics, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and the disgrace of the 1980s, when it soon became apparent that a self-confident narrative of the free market was also on the wane.
Indeed, as we examine the generations coming of age in the more recent past, what is most striking is the way in which labels are globally searched for and applied, in advance of – or in place of – generational self-definition. The label of Generation X stuck, in part, because it chimed with the now-notorious cultural and political passivity of the lost, drifting generation born in the shadow of the Boomers. The trundle towards the end of the alphabet – Generation Y, Generation Z – conveys a wider sensibility of the end of history. With characteristic wit and perspicacity, one of Coupland’s recent novels is titled Generation A, and imagines a world in the near future, ‘where bees are extinct, until five unconnected people around the world – in the US, Canada, France, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka – are all stung. Their shared experience unites them in ways they never could have imagined.’
One paradox, therefore, of the heightened focus on generations in the present day is that it represents a search for a new narrative, rather than a response to a distinctly new generational consciousness. Generations are seen to be brought together by accident (a bee sting) rather than action. Generational labels tend to be applied globally, often with little regard for cultural and experiential differences, and politicised by claimsmakers to further their arguments for ‘intergenerational justice’ – a seedy mission that seems to rely primarily on calls to redistribute wealth from the old to the young.
Generations and the problem of knowledge
The irony is that this focus on the importance of generational experience and difference evades the deeper questions, and downplays the extent to which younger generations are capable of engaging with them. For example, Howker and Malik’s Jilted Generation makes an interesting critique of the short-termism endemic in current political and economic thinking. What is ultimately at stake, they argue, is ‘the mechanism by which our society considers the past and future – our relationship with time’: ‘We believe that this relationship is dysfunctional, not because of “the Boomers” or because of the inherent nature of “capitalism” but because of a way of thinking that has grown to dominate our public discourse and our conception of ourselves.’
Many of the Millennial ‘whingers’ that self-identify as part of the ‘jilted generation’ are often making quite reasonable arguments regarding the problem of the spiralling cost of housing; or the overheated credentialism required to obtain relatively insecure jobs; or the impact of rising university tuition fees coupled with an increasing sense that higher-education is compulsory, and a decreasing sense of why it is worthwhile; or the difficulty of making adult commitments – to partners, or to having children – in a cultural context where these commitments are seen as problematic.
When Millennials demand better for themselves, it does not seem quite fair to dismiss them as merely ‘entitled’. At the root of these demands is, quite often, an understandable frustration with their own condition and an aspiration for a better, more meaningful life. Unfortunately, because these arguments are played out in the language of the jilted generation, they cannot progress beyond the childish demand that members of the older generations should do more to help them.
The attempt to explain the Millennials’ plight by pitching them against an imaginary Golden Age experienced by the Boomers also fails to engage with the more complex social and cultural factors that drive what is often described as Millenials’ ‘failure to launch’. For example, the BBC reported earlier this year that, ‘for the first time, in US records going back to the 1880s, people aged between 18 and 34 are more likely to be living with their parents than being married or co-habiting with a partner’. This trend has also been developing in the UK for some time, with more than 25 per cent of young people (defined as 20- to 34-year-olds) living at home with their parents.
Within a narrative of generationalism, these statistics are usually explained as a direct consequence of rising house prices. But the cost of housing alone cannot explain, for example, why young people seem to be leaving it later to form long-term, intimate partnerships, or why the creature comforts of living with one’s parents are now seen to trump, so decisively, the value of mobility, independence and beginning a family of one’s own. These are much wider existential questions, which cannot be neatly answered either by the argument that the Boomers have taken all the housing or the assertion that Millennials are pathetic and crap.
Generationalism has become a way of truncating the question of knowledge, which lies at the heart of the generational transaction. That young people should work up their experiences of living in a short-termist, risk-averse culture in a particular way is exactly what we would expect. But when their critiques are fed back into a loop of one-sided parent-blaming, any attempt to figure out new solutions to genuinely new problems is stopped in its tracks.
The obsession with labelling generations gets in the way of understanding the significance of the relationship between generations, and important differences within generations. For example, it may well be the case that the contemporary Zeitgeist is best expressed by the parent-blaming Millennial and the radical jihadist – two deeply unappealing character types, who, in their different ways, set their faces against the ‘older generation’. But these generation units are not representative of the whole of the youth of today.
The implicit assumption that every young person can be explained as a mere product of their times leads to a fatalism among their elders: a sense that there is nothing we can do to shape young people’s ideas in a more positive direction. But generational identity is far less stable and rigid than the labels suggest, and for the majority of young people, the conversation between the generations remains as possible and important as ever. Engaging in a slanging match of ‘selfish Boomer’ versus ‘spoilt brat Millennial’ will get nobody very far, and cut all of those for whom life is more nuanced and interesting out of the debate.
A conversation between generations
So what, then, of Generation Z? If we even accept the label, this is a generation that is barely old enough to have a genuine sense of its role in the world. Yet already there is an attempt to determine its outcome – as a generation that has worse mental health than any before it; a generation condemned to a miserable and unstable life under austerity; a generation that exists at least half the time on the internet, where older generations cannot reach and have nothing to offer.
Commentators trying to make sense of today are scripting the end of the story for a bunch of kids who, as Combi indicates, are, at the moment, every bit as diverse and normal, miserable and happy, conformist and rebellious, sociable and introverted, as kids have been at any time in history. To the extent that discussions about Generation Z can tell us what (older) people are worried about in the here and now, they are interesting. Beyond that, we could do worse than to ‘stop fucking asking’ the kids what they are thinking all of the time, and just talk to them. If we continue the generational conversation, they will take some of our knowledge and experience on board, reject some of it, and interpret some of it in their own distinctive way. This is how the future gets written.
Jennie Bristow is senior lecturer in sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University and an associate of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies. Her new book, The Sociology of Generations: New Directions and Challenges, is published by Palgrave Macmillan. Buy this book from Palgrave Macmillan, using the discount code: NcB72JwXp22Y3Bg (valid until 23 July 2016); or buy the book from Amazon (UK).
For permission to republish spiked articles, please contact Viv Regan.
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN DENMARK – CULTURAL ANALYSIS Worldview of Generations- Gen X and the Millenials Applying Mannheim „The Sociological Problems of Generations“ Lea Mühlenschulte 08.05.2015 Worldview of Generations- Gen X and the Millenials TABLE OF CONTENT Introduction .........................................................................................................................................................................3 The different Generations – A short Overview ......................................................................................................3 Generation X .........................................................................................................................................................................4 The Millenials.......................................................................................................................................................................5 Conclusion .............................................................................................................................................................................8 Appendix................................................................................................................................................................................9 Sources ..............................................................................................................................................................................9 Books .............................................................................................................................................................................9 Publications ................................................................................................................................................................9 Websites .......................................................................................................................................................................9 2 Lea Mühlenschulte Worldview of Generations- Gen X and the Millenials INTRODUCTION One often hears the term generation: there is nearly a generation between us, that is not from your generation and so on. However, what does make people a generation and how different are they? With a text from Mannheim, who defines the different types of a generation, as for example a generation location, actuality or unit, as the basis, this paper will examine the different worldviews of generations. The main focus will be, after an introducing section, the difference between Generation X and Generation Y, also called the Millennials. This focus was selected, because most of the current students are from the Millennial generation (that is also why, the part of the Gen Y is larger), with Gen X as parents. As a teenager one often experiences the clash of generations, when parents do not understand what is important for oneself, because they are influenced by different values. But what exactly shaped this different worldviews. In the following sections, the paper will examine what events influenced the generations and how it pressed their worldview in the one or other way. THE DIFFERENT GENERA TIONS – A SHORT OVERVIEW Today, we have six generations that live beside each other, beginning with the GI Generation (Greatest Generation), born in the beginning of the last century, over the Millennial Generation born in the end of the 20th century as well as Generation Z, who entered life since 2000. Figure 1 Cooper, Rich; Bitely, Andrea; Gualtieri, Wendy; Hendrix, Michael; Seppanen, Sally; The Millennial Generation – Research Review, National Chamber Foundation, Washington DC, 2012, p. 2 According to Mannheim, each person from the same generation is located in the same location, meaning that they have been “exposed to the same phase of the collective process”1, they share common experience. Moreover, are those generations, definite while talking about the shown numbers from the USA, an actuality, where a concrete bond was created between the Figure 1 Millenials – Breaking the Myths, Nielsen Holdings, 2014, p. 4 – American Numbers Mannheim,K.; The Sociological Problems of Generations; in: Kecskemeti, P.; Essays on the Sociology of Knowledge; Routledge & Ketan, London; 1952; p. 297 1 3 Lea Mühlenschulte Worldview of Generations- Gen X and the Millenials members because they have been exposed to the social and intellectual symptoms of a process of dynamic de-stabilization2. Each generation has its own personality; baby boomers are the idealists, “shaped by Woodstock, JFK [John F. Kennedy], RFK [Robert F. Kennedy], and MLK [Martin Luther King]. Generation X is the skeptical independent, shaped by latchkeys3, Watergate4 and the PC. Generation Y is the connected, diverse collaborator, shaped by 9/11, texting, and the recession5”. In the following sections I will concentrate on Generation X and mostly Generation Y, also called the Millenials or Gen Y, due to the fact that most members of the class are from Gen Y. The worldviews and the events that shaped the generation will be presented. GENERATION X Generation X came of age during the 80s and 90s of the last century, meaning their birthdates were between the early 60s and 80s. The term Generation X was “coined by Magnum photographer Robert Capa in the early [50s] (…) “We named this unknown generation, The Generation X, and even in our first enthusiasm, we realized that we had something far bigger than our talents and pockets could cope with”6. The term was made popular by Douglas Coupland who published the novel “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture” in 1991. Kurt Cobain from the band Nirvana is regarded as being the unofficial spokesman for Generation X. They are the first generation that consisted of a larger mix of races, classes, religions, economic status and sexual orientation and provided so the way for the Millenials. Gen X’ers saw the rise of AIDS; homelessness, unemployment and drug use, influencing their world view to a kind of collective disappointment with it. They used to embrace the Baby Boom cultural elements in an ironic way and supported music reacting against the hippie and baby boom generation, for example gangsta rap and grunge. Moreover, their worldview was shaped by events like the post JFK assassination culture, Reagan’s presidential term, Challenger and Chernobyl disaster, the end of the Berlin Wall and the Cold War, Bush’s presidential term, Clinton and the economic boom, the death of Princess Diana as well as the Persian Gulf War7. However, the radicals of yesterday, meaning those who had been metalheads and punks during their youth, became the revolutionaries of today. The generation that acted and still acts during the Arabic Spring today, is “born from the observations and actions of a youth born a generation earlier”8, who “instead of swallowing political propaganda”9, is googling for truth. Generation X is “a generation whose worldview is based on change, on the need to combat corruption, dictatorships, abuse, AIDS, a generation in search of human dignity and individual freedom, the need for stability, love, tolerance and human rights for all”10. Even though they were influenced by rather negative events during their upbringing, they provided the way for cf. ibid., p. 303 latchkey is a kid left at home unsupervised while the partens are out or away. http://de.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=latchkey+kid , 04-05-15, 10:52 4 additonal information to the Watergate Affair: http://www.history.com/topics/watergate 5 Cooper, Rich; Bitely, Andrea; Gualtieri, Wendy; Hendrix, Michael; Seppanen, Sally; The Millennial Generation – Research Review, National Chamber Foundation, Washington DC, 2012, p. 2 6 http://www.generationalresearchfoundation.com/generationx/ 21-04-15, 08:37 7 cf. ibid. 8 http://www.generationxgoesglobal.com/ 05-05-15, 18:26 9 ibid. 10 Preface to Henseler, Christine; Generation X Goes Global: Mapping A Youth Culture in Motion a collection of global essays 2 3A 4 Lea Mühlenschulte Worldview of Generations- Gen X and the Millenials our generation, the Millenials, by their diverse members and opinions, who demanded tolerance and the same rights for everybody as well as did not believe everything they were told. THE MILLENIALS The Millenials, also called Generation Y, came of age in the shadows of 9 /11 “in an electronics filled and increasingly online and socially networked world”11. “Millenials ranked ‘Technology Use’ first (24%), followed by ‘Music / Pop Culture’ (11%), ‘Liberal / Tolerant’ (7%), ‘Smarter’ (6%) and ‘Clothes’ (5%), in contrast, Boomers ranked ‘Work Ethic’ as the most defining characteristic of their generation”12.They use the internet to connect with other people, but are simultaneously aware of the advantages and disadvantages of technology. Gen Y are the ‘Look at Me’ generation, shaped by social networks, sending a median of 50 texts per day and have the highest average number of Facebook friends with an average of 250, compared to 200 for Gen X13. In their worldview, technology is not associated with a negative feeling of insecurity. They are “generally comfortable with the idea of a public Internet life. Privacy (…) is mostly a concern of functional settings limiting who sees their online shares”14. This can lead to a rather naïve use of technology, but it supports their selfpromotion and helps to foster connections. The concept of Creative Class by Florida that values “artistic expression, education and knowledge over traditional industry, is in line with the values of many Millenials”15. Due to their trust in technology, they are more likely to invest in Figure 2 Millenials – Breaking the Myths, Nielsen Holdings, 2014, p. 23 startups and other entrepreneurial opportunities, helping some to become rich. Even though they have a mass of (Facebook) friends and followers on Twitter, Millenials are less concerned about marriage than the previous generations. Being independent and free fits more into their worldview than buying a house and starting a family, however this is also influenced by the rather young age of Millenials, the oldest are close to 30 now, the youngest not even 20. http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/millennialsmillennialgeneration 20-04-15, 08:23 Millenials – Breaking the Myths, Nielsen Holdings, 2014, p. 33 13 http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/millennialsmillennialgeneration 20-04-15, 08:23 14 ibid. 15 Millenials – Breaking the Myths, Nielsen Holdings, 2014; p. 24 11 12 5 Lea Mühlenschulte Worldview of Generations- Gen X and the Millenials Figure 3 http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/outlook/millennials/ 04-05-15 21:30 Freedom and equality make up a large part of the Millennial’s worldview, visible in their “support of political independents and protestor-formed governments”16. Due to this, they are also more interested in keeping up with politics and national affairs than a generation ago. Gen Y’ers regard education as a necessary, even though expensive, good. They will be the best educated generation in history. “Education, poverty and the environment are the causes they care about most. And, when they care about a cause, they evangelize it. They spread the word to their networks”17and are “willing to pay more for products from companies with social impact programs”18. Millenials mostly live in the city, without a car, buying consumer products produced by members of their community. Figure 4 Millenials – Breaking the Myths, Nielsen Holdings, 2014 p. 13 http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/millennialsmillennialgeneration 20-04-15, 08:23 Millenials – Breaking the Myths, Nielsen Holdings, 2014; p. 12 18 ibid.; p 12 16 17 6 Lea Mühlenschulte Worldview of Generations- Gen X and the Millenials The healthiness of a product is also very important for the Millennials, they are investing huge sums of money in for example fitness and organic food. Figure 5 http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/outlook/millennials/ 04-05-15 21:30 Their worldview is strongly influenced by their own life goals; they were “raised under the mantra ‘follow your dreams’”19 and are masters of self-expression, with a trend towards personal branding. “All along, Gen Y’ers have been told that they can do anything they want to do and be anything they want to be”20, therefore raises the number of women going out to work. Even though they are accused for being narcissistic and only caring about themselves, is the generation more tolerant than any before (47% vs. 19 %21), probably due to their diverse members. around 50 % either have a tattoo, “dyed their hair an untraditional color, or ha[ve] a body piercing in a place other than their ear lobe”22 One in Five says that he or she has no religious affiliation, is atheist or agnostic, that is nearly double compared to the late 80s, showing that the Millennial’s worldview is more influenced by technology and science than that of any other generation. Generation Y is “concerned about social justice and will not support institutions that they see as in conflict with social and economic equality”23 “Millenials have the confidence to stand up for what they believe and the confidence, technology and network to voice their opinions”24 Even though they are very interested in their own goals does society move more and more into the worldview of Gen Y. They care about others and use the possibilities they have – mostly technological or electronic – to help. They are tolerant and do not accept any violation of rights they regard as essential. 19 http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/millennialsmillennialgeneration 20-04-15, 08:23 Cooper, Rich; Bitely, Andrea; Gualtieri, Wendy; Hendrix, Michael; Seppanen, Sally; The Millennial Generation – Research Review, National Chamber Foundation, Washington DC, 2012, p. 16 21 ibid.; p. 3 22 http://www.peoplepress.org/2007/01/09/aportraitofgenerationnext/1/5 20-04-15, 08:51 23 http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/millennialsmillennialgeneration 20-04-15, 08:23 24 Cooper, Rich; Bitely, Andrea; Gualtieri, Wendy; Hendrix, Michael; Seppanen, Sally; The Millennial Generation – Research Review, National Chamber Foundation, Washington DC, 2012; p. 15 20 7 Lea Mühlenschulte Worldview of Generations- Gen X and the Millenials CONCLUSION At the moment six generations live together in our world, which are is experiencing the same events. However, the generations do not experience the events in the same way, because they were shaped by different influences. Every member of a generation was exposed to the same collective process, but this is not comprehensive to the other ones. Generation X is the skeptical independent, shaped by rather negative events like Watergate, AIDS, drug use, Chernobyl and the JFK assassination. They wanted to set themselves apart from their parent’s generation by embracing their culture in a ironic way or by totally contrasting it. However, the radicals from that time, are now those who question illegitimate regimes, because they experienced the Cold War as well as the possibility of freedom by the fall of the Berlin Wall. Their worldview is based on constant change; therefore, they wanted stability and love. The Millennials are the first digital natives of history, growing up in a online and connected world. Due to the influence of their parents, they are very likely to support political independents and protestor regimes and are interested to keep up with politics, which is easy trough the digital media. Even though they are often described as the Look at Me generation, due to constant connection to social networks, they care about poverty, education and the environment. They have been told their whole life that they can do anything they want to, and value therefore freedom and independence. Gen Y’ers are confident enough to stand up for their believes and their diverse members established tolerance as their strongest value. As visible, do generations influence each other, however they are not the same and will never be the same. Gen X grew up during the Cold War, while Gen Y entered age after 9 /11. Their worldviews are kind of the same, but not really. Therefore, it is possible to say that generations have different worldviews – but this is also necessary, because otherwise would the world never develop into a future stage. Millenials are the generation the internet and social networks and nobody knows what Generation Z will be. 8 Lea Mühlenschulte Worldview of Generations- Gen X and the Millenials APPENDIX SOURCES BOOKS Henseler, Christine; Generation X Goes Global: Mapping A Youth Culture in Motion a collection of global essays Mannheim,K.; The Sociological Problems of Generations; in: Kecskemeti, P.; Essays on the Sociology of Knowledge; Routledge & Ketan, London; 1952; pp. 286-312 PUBLICATIONS Cooper, Rich; Bitely, Andrea; Gualtieri, Wendy; Hendrix, Michael; Seppanen, Sally; The Millennial Generation – Research Review, National Chamber Foundation, Washington DC, 2012 Millenials – Breaking the Myths, Nielsen Holdings, 2014 WEBSITES http://www.ehow.com/about_6130871_generationx.html, 21-04-15, 08:35 http://www.generationalresearchfoundation.com/generationx/ 21-04-15, 08:37 http://www.generationxgoesglobal.com/ 05-05-15, 18:26 http://www.peoplepress.org/2007/01/09/aportraitofgenerationnext/1/5 20-04-15, 08:51 http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/millennialsmillennialgeneration 20-04-15, 08:23 http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/outlook/millennials/ 04-05-15 21:30 9 Lea Mühlenschulte