The concept of generations

Generations: what’s in the concept and how should it be used?

Everybody seems to be talking about generations, but what do they mean when they do this?

Generation has both biological and social meanings, and can be used to describe family relationships, peer groups, political and cultural identities. It is a concept central to wellbeing, in supporting relations of care, solidarity, and socialisation, but it is also a potential source of conflict. Increasingly, generational differences are discussed in a divisive way, for example in the claim that there is a conflict of interests between older and younger people over social resources.

This project aims to develop a clearer understanding of the concept of generation, and how it can be most constructively used in public policy to support the wellbeing of individuals and communities across the life course.

By embedding close collaboration with the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, and Third Sector organisations British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) and International Longevity Centre (ILC), we will pool knowledge from academics, charities, and think-tanks working with the concept from birth to older age, co-producing recommendations for future research and policy.

More about the generations theme: