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Cultural generation

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Psychology of Generations Cultural generations are cohorts of people who were born in a certain date range and share a general cultural experience of the world. Birth cohorts classified as "generations" have tended to cover periods of around 15 or 20 years (more or less the length of a childhood), with different sources establishing different ranges for them.


Some authors have noted (e.g. Neil Howe and William Strauss: The Next 20 Years: How Customer and Workforce Attitudes Will Evolve, Harvard Business Review, July-August 2007) that certain generations in history share certain common traits. For example, individualist or collectivist attitudes, or more idealistic or practical (materialistic) view of the world. In this sense we could say that in the US, GI generation was an idealist/collectivist generation, Silent generation was/is practical/collectivist, Baby boomer generation was idealist/individualist, and Generation X is practical/individualist (managerial type), whereas the latest generation Y (millennial) will again be idealist/collectivist, just as the old GI generation.

Howe and Strauss have called those 4 types prophet, nomad, hero and artist, and have claimed that they interchange cyclically in the US history, noting only one exception of a missing generation during the Civil War Crisis, when the Hero generation was lost, and after the "Gilded" (1822-1942, nomad type) generation the US gave immediately birth to an artist generation, called the "Progressive" (1843-1859).

According to them, Prophet generations are born after a great war or other crisis, during a time of rejuvenated community life and consensus around a new societal order. Nomad generations are born during a cultural renewal, a time of social ideals and spiritual agendas, when youth-fired attacks break out against the established institutional order. Hero generations are born after a spiritual awakening, during a time of individual pragmatism, self reliance, laissez-faire and national (or sectional or ethnic) chauvinism. Artist generations are born during a great war or other crisis, a time when wordly perils boil off the complexity of life, and public consensus, aggressive innstitutions and personal sacrifice prevail.

Certainly, we should study psychology of generations in more detail to arrive at definite conclusions about the forces that drive the change of generations and their mentalities.

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