On ‘geriatric millennials’

I was quoted in a nice article by Kasia Delgado for the i: ‘“Geriatric millennials” is the latest meaningless micro-generation – and yet I still feel left out’: ‘The more curious question is why these seemingly arbitrary cohorts exist at all. “These generational labels are culturally constructed and imposed on people,” says Jennie Bristow, senior sociology […]

It’s time to get students back into lecture halls

When British universities compete for prospective students, they boast of state-of-the-art facilities, a vibrant social scene and accommodation designed to promote fun and friendship. Depending on where they are in the myriad ‘league tables’ designed to guide students through their decision-making, universities may also boast of excellent teaching, high levels of student satisfaction and holding a reputation […]

Generation, Interrupted

The Corona Generation, Coming of Age in a Crisis, which I wrote with my eldest daughter during the UK’s first lockdown, explores the impact on those coming-of-age under pandemic-related restrictions. In this video, Emma, Class of 2020, candidly describes how teenagers have been affected by school closures and restrictions on normal social activity while I […]

Lockdown: One year on

I wrote the article ‘Covid-19 is not a generation war’ the week before the UK’s formal lockdown announcement. As major political pressure for lockdown grew inside the country and internationally, disease spread rapidly. National school closures and the cancellation of public examinations had already been announced. Nonetheless, there remained a possibility that the UK might […]

Lockdown loneliness is here to stay

Now was supposed to be the era of the “new normal”: a brave new world that had learnt the lessons of a horrifying pandemic, that was epitomised by the death of the city, remote working and a new-found love affair with the “great outdoors”. And yet, I fear, we are entering a completely different chapter in our sociological […]

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 […]

Another cancelled Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. The one day in the year dedicated to thanking the millions of women who have dedicated their bodies, hearts and souls to raising a new generation. It’s a bloody, smelly and often thankless task, which is (of course) intensely emotionally fulfilling, but frankly knackering. A ritual show of appreciation on one day a […]

Back to school: The urgent need for ‘normal’

As England’s children troop back to school after an enforced two-month absence, there is intense speculation about the likely impact on the Covid infection rate. The major questions that should be preoccupying schools, colleges and universities are swept aside by a focus on infection control strategies and logistics – lateral flow testing, mask wearing, and […]

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 […]

Letters on Liberty: Growing up in lockdown

In a contribution to the Academy of Ideas’ Letters on Liberty series, I argue that although the costs of lockdowns are tremendous, especially for young people, we should be wary of narratives that frame young people as especially vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic. This framing robs young people both of agency and of […]

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