Can You Understand a Whole Generation?

  • tags: toblog, generations, pop sociology, GenX, Generation X, Generation Y, popular culture, ethnocentrism, pushing buttons, curmudgeons, millennials

    Some efficient ways to gain insight into a group of human beings (say, a "generation"):

    • Engage in dialogue with some of its members.
    • Undertake participant-observation in the group.
    • Study what has already been written or said about the group.
    • Attempt to "walk a mile in their shoes."
    • Do open-ended interviews with members of other groups who may interact with members of that group.
    • Do surveys with a representative sample from that group and from other groups about the target group’s behaviour and perception by both insiders and outsiders.

    Some inefficient ways to gain insight into a group of human beings (say, a "generation"):

    • Use some arbitrary set of criteria (say, birth year, skin colour, or haircut), lump together people who may not share a common identity and make generalizing statements about them.
    • Openly target individual members of the group for ridicule.
    • Position yourself as a member of a better group (the judgemental side of ethnocentrism).
    • Use as many negative epithets as possible while describing members of that group.
    • Use references from your group’s "popular culture" to provide supporting evidence about your group’s superiority.
    • Call for a war against that group.

– post by enkerli

About enkerli

French-speaking ethnographer, homeroaster, anthropologist, musician, coffee enthusiast. View all posts by enkerli

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