Generations network workshop series

The network will be developed via three sequential workshops:

Workshop 1, Generations in the family and the problem of ‘parenting’

University of Surrey, January 2020

What is passed down through successive generations? This question encompasses a wide range of disciplinary concerns, from biological reproduction to the reproduction of cultural norms and social problems. Paper presentations theorising diachronic generations will include those on historical and literary sources, tracing how parental and familial relationships have changed over the past 200 years. Discussion of these will be followed by an exploration of the significance of diachronic generations to cultural and policy debates about reproduction and parenting, and their relationship to individual and community wellbeing.

Workshop 2, Generational identities, and the problem of ‘presentism’

Canterbury Christ Church University, April 2020

How and why do generational identities form, and what is their significance? A discussion of paper presentations addressing synchronic uses of the concept of generations will be followed by an exploration of how generational identities have come to be increasingly significant in discussions about wellbeing with regard to belonging, political affiliations, cultural differences, and moral values, and how intergenerational projects and environments can nuance and relativise those.

The workshop will be followed by an open discussion forum in the early evening, based on the launch of the new book Generational Encounters with Higher Education (by Jennie Bristow, Sarah Cant and Anwesa Chatterjee), and supported by the Engaging Sociology initiative.

Workshop 3, ‘Generationalism’ and the problem of social policy

The Wellcome Collection, London, June 2020

In what ways is the concept of generation useful and/or obstructive in policies designed to foster wellbeing in the present day? The discussion here will focus in particular on the emergence of new forms of ‘generationalism’, where particular characteristics of generation are exaggerated to frame claims about social problems and policy resources. Discussion will consider how a more nuanced understanding of the working of generations could better inform intergenerational practice in policy areas including housing, education, care and community enrichment.

For more information about the network and related workshops, contact Jennie Bristow and Helen Kingstone at

Follow us on Twitter @GenerationsNet.

More about the generations theme: