The Study of Generations

Feb 24, 2012
by: CListon

The study of generations is a way to look at how society evolves. It is a way to see how a cohort-group of people who grow up under the same conditions see the world, interact with the world, and change the world. Although this is an interesting sect of sociology, caution must been taken when looking at and classifying people in different generations.

I interviewed a sociologist at the University of Utah, Dr. Theresa Martinez, and she mentions an important caveat to take into account, “We should be very careful in classifying “generations.” I know we throw around terms like “millennials,” “Baby Boomers,” “GenX”, etc… but it’s important to know that these terms are only useful to a certain extent.

Human beings are very complex and pigeon-holing them does not work. Patterns are patterns, but they do not speak for everyone and they can be exaggerated.” I think this sums up very well the aspect of studying generations many people ignore.


I really like your topic. Are

Submitted by Gabby Ghabash on Fri, 2012-02-24 15:37.

I really like your topic. Are you going to focus on a couple of generations? Or do you plan to focus on generations in general?

After starting to write my

Submitted by CListon on Wed, 2012-03-07 13:09.

After starting to write my research paper, I decided I am going to just focus on the four most recent generations in America: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Genneration Z. The theory I am focusing on talks about a four-part generational cycle. So these past four generations fit into the four kinds of generations that this theory classifies. I think this will be better because, one, I will have an example for each generation type according to the theory, and two, it focuses in a manageable number of generations that I can go into a little more detail about each. I think this will make the paper more interesting, with examples rather than theoretical disucssion.

Research Papers

Submitted by Layne Haber on Wed, 2012-03-07 16:35.

Connor, I believe that our topics are somewhat intertwined. I am researching on how trends develop over time. I understand that trends, especially those in fashion, can be cyclical. Do you think that your study of generations over time has provided any insight as to why trends become revived?

I am also interested in what you have found as common threads through various generations. What did you find that was most surprising? Can you explain the attitudes of the various generations through the use of what happened to them (or their parents), as a sort of critical juncture that influenced attitudes and personalities?

I look forward to seeing what you write next!