Category Archives: Millennials

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 […]

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 […]

Everyone’s a loser in today’s fabricated generation wars

  According to doomsayers in policy and media circles, the young have never had it so bad, and the fault lies with their greedy elders. The allegedly enormous, voracious baby boomer generation, living it up on the golf course with the ill-gotten gains from gold-plated pensions and over-valued houses, is in the firing line for […]

Buying off young people

As adults, we have some major obligations to our children. We nourish their bodies, helping them through the chaos of toddlerhood and the hormonal hell of their teenage years, so that they grow into physically healthy adults. We nourish their minds, helping them to access the cultural heritage that our society has built up over […]

The promotion of ‘generational equity’ is a divisive pursuit

It has become fashionable in policy and media circles to talk about inequality between the generations. We are warned that today’s young people belong to a “jilted generation” (1), or a “stagnation generation” (2), who have been cornered by the economic and political problems of the moment and are unable to buy a house, start a […]