Category Archives: Baby Boomers

Behind the myths about the Generation Wars

One of the greatest myths of the 21st century is the idea that we are living through an era of generational conflict. Thanks to a clash of values between old and young, and the pinch on social and economic resources caused by an increasingly ageing population, the conventional narrative holds that, in the West at least, […]

Respect your elders? Why the generation wars feel worse than ever

I am cited in this perceptive article by Isabelle Aron in The Independent, 26 March 2021:  “They think they know everything, and are always quite sure about it.” No, these are not the words of a disapproving baby boomer bemoaning snowflake millennials on social media or breakfast television, but a quote from ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle complaining about young people BC. Cross-generational conflict is […]

Talking about Generations: 5 questions to ask yourself

To mark National Intergenerational Week (8-14 March), the interdisciplinary Generations Network, led by academics at Canterbury Christ Church University and the University of Surrey, has produced a guide to Talking about Generations. The guide presents five key questions to be considered by those working with the concept of generations, and three suggestions for avoiding the pitfalls […]

Lockdowns don’t protect the elderly

While Covid-19 has been scything through Western society, in the past year an altogether different – and possibly more insidious – threat has been brewing: the prospect of a conflict between the young and elderly. As soon as the pandemic struck, commentators seized upon fears that the heartless young would shrug off the pandemic as […]

Differenze sì, guerra generazionale mai!

I was interviewed by Raffaello Carabini for Spazio50 magazine, 1 December 2020: La sociologa Jennie Bristow difende da sempre l’impegno comune delle generazioni – di giovani e anziani insieme – per migliorare il mondo. Il suo pensiero in questa intervista. È la responsabile del Dipartimento di Sociologia dell’Università di Canterbury, importante ateneo cattolico d’Inghilterra. Nel […]

Generationalism backs ageism

Stefania Medetti interviewed me for her blog, The Age Buster. She wrote:  Picasso had a Blue Period and I had a Russian one. For a couple of years, I devoured Russian literature, scavenging for unknown titles when the most famous ones had already found a place on my bookshelf. Russian literature has all the depths that […]

Stop Mugging Grandma: news and reviews

Review by Laura Isobel Paddon of Southampton University in Ageing and Society (40:4), April 2020, pp.921-922. Interview for BBC Radio 4 programme ‘OK, Boomer!’, 2 March 2020. Quoted in article by Melanie Wiseman in The Beacon Senior News, 2 March 2020.  Interview on Sveriges Radio, 30 November: ‘Medverkande i Konflikt om generationsklyftan och aktivisterna’ Interview with Grace Birnstengel […]

Debate: Do baby boomers owe millennials an apology?

Debate broadcast on the Ideas from the Trenches series on CBC Radio, Canada, 8 November 2019.  Bruce Cannon Gibney and Jennie Bristow are on opposite sides of the ‘Boomer-blaming’ debate. They are both aware of each other’s work, but had never spoken directly until IDEAS brought them together for this episode. Jennie Bristow says the Boomer […]

‘OK Boomer’

Over the past few weeks, the ‘OK Boomer’ meme has gone viral, leading to an offline epidemic of earnest commentary. The whippersnappers of ‘Generation Z’ have taken to TikTok – a social-media platform that seems to be about sharing chill-ironic lip-synching video-selfies – with a flurry of music, artwork, and follow-on merch responding to criticisms […]

The futility of generation wars

From the early years of the 21st century, the idea that old people have screwed up the world has become the received wisdom. From economic crisis to environmental catastrophe, from the Brexit vote to the election of Donald Trump, from the lack of affordable housing to the persistence of ‘unaffordable’ pensions, blame for a whole […]