What do you think about generational research and it’s application in higher education? Does the Quiz: How Millennial Are You? make you feel left out/misunderstood or provide helpful insights/affirmation? According to Richard Pells, The Peculiar Generation (Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/21/2010) gets lost in the generational conversations. I think that it’s an example of how broad categorizations break down as one becomes more specific. Understanding people, their context, and their culture (especially our own?) is much more complex/nuanced than many of us desire to confess. But maybe it’s a first step to have the broad categories to provide perspective before wrestling with specifics. What do you think?
We’ve all heard about the “greatest generation,” which lived through the Depression of the 1930s and won World War II (with a little help from our Russian friends). We’ve also been subjected to innumerable analyses about the “baby boomers,” born in the late 1940s and 1950s, who instigated the social and cultural upheavals of the 1960s and have shaped American society ever since.
But what about the people born between the beginning of World War II, in 1939, and its end, in 1945? Those members of a transitionally awkward generation who were too young to have personally experienced the Depression or the war, but too old to have been embroiled in the turmoil on college campuses in the late 1960s. Who were presumably too blasé or sedate to have participated in the battles against the Vietnam War or for the equality of women, much less in the revels at Woodstock. Who came of age in an America that was obsessed with the cold war and was not yet bombarded daily by technological innovations, new waves of immigrants, or cataclysms in the stock market. What contributions, if any, has this generation made to American political and cultural life?
Quite a lot, as it happens. In fact, many in this cohort were responsible for some of the principal transformations—especially in movies, music, and journalism—that have occurred in America over the past 60 years. … — Richard Pells, The Peculiar Generation (Chronicle of Higher Education, 3/21/2010).