In his theory of generations Ortega y Gassett suggested what others have come to call the “pulserate” hypothesis, where he argued that generational exchanges occurred in thirty-year cycles. His student Julián Marías later qualified this to fifteen years. This mechanistic theory has, of course, met with criticism – for being too mechanistic, and for being insensitive to different types of temporalities. Nonetheless, the self-perception of generations is not only guided by the relation to coevals, but also to, what Ricoeur calls “contemporaries, predecessors, and successors”, that is, the generations that came before, those with whom one shares experiences as coevals, and those who will succeed oneself. In this paper will be discussed the relations between the – often nostalgic – memories that communify coevals, and the experiences of generation as kinship that impact on a person’s perception of their place in the generational succession order, and how this can be developed into a generational rhythm analysis. It is argued that the rhythm of collective social life, which is arrhythmic along diversities in the combination of life-course and generational features seems to prevent the increase in “generational turnover” that could be expected through the increased speed of the “technological turnover” that follow from digitisation.
The theme of the relation between the media and the generations has been much explored in recent years, with significant results in both the field of media studies and the sociology of culture. On the media studies side the generational approach has been particularly important in relativising the role of technical evolution. Both the emergence of new media, and the evolution within each medium are considered explicable in the generational approach only if we consider the role played by the ever-new waves of youth audiences (who have experienced innovation as natural and coherent with their needs) in making these socially and successfully acceptable innovations. On the other hand, considering the media enables sociology to assess one of the essential factors in the permanence of rituals of usage, habits and memorial contents during the aging of generations and their self-identification in coexistence with the different generations (earlier or later). Within this strand of studies, the present paper aims to consider the interaction between the media, generational belonging and social memory. First, the relationships between memory and generational identity are discussed. Secondly, the role played by the media in collective memory building is analyzed. Finally, a new model of the relationship between the media, social memory and generational belonging is discussed, in the light of the previous discussions. As an example, the model is applicated to the case of the different memories of Tienanmen events (1989) in China and in Western Countries.
The main goal of this paper is to make a methodological contribution to researching social and media generations quantitatively in representative population surveys. For this purpose, the paper employs a mixed-method approach: analysing an original questionnaire module on generational identity (developed for the Estonian population survey “Me. The World. The Media” 2014; N=1,503) is complemented with focus group interviewees’ (n=69) reflections on generation-building components. The paper concludes that Mannheimian and other theoretical concepts of generations can be operationalised for population survey research: the underlying structure of the categories of generational identity is in line with the theoretical constructs, adding some heuristic aspects for the comprehension of the hierarchical composition of generational identity. The analysis also reveals significant differences between age groups regarding all factor components and most of the individual categories of generational identity: structural components, related to life events, lifestyle and social status, were significantly more important to the younger generations than to the older age groups, while the importance of mental and cultural factors was significantly lower. Insights from the focus groups clearly reinforced previous studies’ warnings about overlooking individual variation in generations: participants with various backgrounds, particularly representatives of the two language communities, suggested an array of generation labels and the defining factors of generation building, thus confirming the Mannheimian idea of the existence of generational units.
Social media represent a space that allows users to collect memories and, by sharing them, to connect with those who think and feel the same about the past. In this paper we analyze the intergenerational case of Jugonostalgija on Instagram where users are rebuilding a socio-cultural yugoslav sphere in a tension among ‘culture of nostalgia’ and ‘nostalgic culture’ (Velikonja, 2008), playing different languages and aesthetics, producing content that refer to the same cultural references of the past. This allows them to respond to the need of reaffirming a common ‘we sense’, a feeling of belonging above the borders, prohibited by the national states. By a qualitative contents analysis of 52 Instagram accounts related to Yugoslavia, we observed the generational relation between media and time in Jugonostalgija. The findings of this work allow us to build a theoretical framework combining the nature of media content (UGC and mainstream media) with the temporal dimension the content refers to (Yugo and post-Yugo). This produces four areas ‒ Belonging, Competence, Creativity and Distance ‒ assembled in two pairs according to the kind of content they use, operationalising the dimension of restorative and reflective nostalgia (Boym, 2001).
Previous research has indicated that media technologies and media use form an important cultural glue within generations. Younger generations, in particular, have been noted to build their generational identity around the technology and devices that they use. We believe it is important to explore how generations and shared identities are constructed, especially in unusual circumstances that lead to in-depth self-reflexivity. The aim of this study was to see how the disruption of habitual social media use helps to outline the generational self-construction of young adults. We invited 19-23-year-old students (N=42) to disrupt their habitual media use by participating in a five-day social media detox and to reflect upon this experience in their social media detox diaries. By doing so, the young in our sample helped to self-narrate and construct their generational identity characteristic of present-day youth. Our findings indicate that many of the young participants, indeed recognized social media as dominant generational glue, and expressed annoyance and submissive resignation when looking at the practices of themselves and their peers, who were described in most cases as “addicted” to smart devices. Disruption from the norm of constant availability and affordances of social media offered the participants an outsider’s look at their own everyday lives: seeing their peers engaged with technology and not being able to do the same enabled them to assume a reflexive attitude, contributing to the making of a generation and offered a novel perspective on both individual and generational media use. As people are increasingly encouraged to resist and self-regulate in the context of pervasive media, self-reflexivity-heavy social media detoxes can be used as tools for building resilience and can even unfold to become a part of the generational glue itself.
This article aims to bring to reflection the everyday life of Portuguese families with young children entangled in the digital media environment, by considering a past generation of families with similar characteristics. Theoretical framework combines a mediatization lens and perspectives from media and generations studies. The conceptualisation of the family as a “communicative figuration” (Hepp, Hasebrink, 2018) ‒ composed by communicative practices, actors’ constellation and frames of relevance ‒ guide the three research questions: 1) to what extent is the changing media environment related to changes in the roles played by parents, children and other family members? 2) Are digital media affecting communicative practices in relation to family timetables, routines and spaces? 3) How family’s media-related concerns and memories frame those practices? Based on a thematic analysis of 40 interviews with 20 years apart (20 in 1996 and 20 in 2016), the article explores to what extent “doing family” (Morgan, 2011) has changed. Results show that despite 2016 families are immersed in a deeper digitised environment, parents continue considering television as the main trusted screen for children. More schooled and digital savvy parents seem to be attached to a nostalgic perception of childhood that guides their mediation practices through a more cocooning approach, postponing children’s awareness of social realities around them.
In 2016 – the annus horribilis of pop – the death of music artists such as David Bowie, George Michael and Prince produced a prodigious amount of commemorative initiatives, both spontaneously and within the media and celebrity worlds, with an impressive level of online expressions of grief. Addressing these three cases within the framework of social generation studies, celebrity theory and death studies, the paper proposes some hypotheses on the role that the death of celebrities plays in the construction of generational identity as “discursive articulation” where specific media practices/representations (in our case, mourning practices) play a crucial role in making generational narratives group together around shared symbolic and semantic cores.
The essay deals with the genre of the biographical film, and is based on one side upon theoretical research and on the other on the experience of the author as script consultant for a good number of biographical Tv miniseries that have been broadcasted in the last fifteen years in the main Italian channel RaiUno. The biopic is a genre that is very popular both in Hollywood and in Italian television. The author stresses the importance of working on the theme of the film: this is always crucial, in any genre, but it is particularly important with biographical stories, as they tend to be episodic and to lack dramatic unity. The essay also deals with two other aspects of biopics: the choice of the elements that a film can tell about the life of the protagonist, and the point of view on these facts. Following the seminal work of Wayne Booth, the author stresses that it is not the simple sequence of facts that makes the story, but it is the point of view of the author (strongly related with the theme) that can give the specific meaning and values to the facts. The essays, in its last section, explains some practical techniques to make a biopic effective for a large audience. Some of them are: to concentrate on a central event, to find a climax for the film’s ending, to deal in a clever way with the problem of the empathy of the protagonist, to create meaningful relations for the protagonist with some minor characters, to make the story visual, etc. The question of the historical accuracy is also addressed, pointing at different traditions on this issue in Hollywood and in Italian television.
The article aims to present results of an experimental research projecton the perception of aphasic people and pragmatics of multimedia languages. The research was conducted at the Interdepartmental research centre Cinedumedia (Department of Philosophy and Education, University of Turin) and it was funded by Carlo Molo Onlus Foundation (Turin), in 2014-2016. Based on previous exploratory investigations into multimedia communication with aphasia, the article shows the method and process of realizing a simplified video-prototype of a cinematic text that favours aphasic audiences. Patients were directly involved in all video-production phases (creation, planning, writing, shooting and editing): in this way, it was possible to project a set of video-clips that help, explain and simplify the film. The product has also allowed to outline a general model of simplified communication for language diseases (both the productive mode and the receptive); theoretically, it could be adapted to all audio-visual and media content. Starting from several theoretical studies on digital media, sociology and multimedia, the research refers to communicative and, of course, theoretical studies as well as international experiences of the aphasia rehabilitation (normally, videos are used in medical contexts to favour the recovery of the word). Furthermore, we consider studies of the Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning by Mayer (2009), oriented to this specific aphasic case: from this point of view, these elements are useful to the fruition of perspective and content understanding as well as memory training (above all for persons who have lost this function due to age or health).
The paper focuses on the relation between body, subject and identity in the field of performing arts (i.e. dance and theatre). The starting point of the reflection is that, despite Identity Studies (Disability Studies, Feminism Studies, Queer Studies etc.) and artistic practices which question the categories of body, health, subjectivity and identity, theater scholars are far from adopting methodological and linguistic instruments that are suitable for the interpretation of the artistic and philosophical contemporary scenario. Today, the scene is populated by actors with strong physical connotations that challenge the adoption of uniform and stable categories in the interpretation of the actor’s work. Is it not reductive to designate the person-actor with the generic term “body”, despite the pluralism and differences present on stage today? What are the most appropriate tools to read, deconstruct and interpret the work of a disabled actor? To give an answer to these questions and to avoid the situation where my reflection returns the body to disciplines of social discourses, I propose to begin this exploration with an analysis of Chiara Bersani’s artistic production. Chiara Bersani is a performer with “imperfect osteogenesis”, a congenital bone disorder characterized by brittle bones that are prone to fracture. She takes her vulnerable embodiment as a starting point for her performative work and the concept of the “political body”. With this term, Chiara Bersani means the display of a perpetual dynamic between the self and the other, between the individual and society, the singular and the universal, personal responsibility and the political dimension. The assumption of the paper is that the actor’s phenomenology cannot be grasped by remaining within the limits of the scene and of theater pedagogies. Chiara Bersani’s works can perhaps offer a starting point to rethink the relationship between body and subjectivity in the field of the contemporary theatrical practices, provided that we rethink the latter category within the broader philosophical debate.
CS special issue 2/2019, edited by Gorin Bolin and Fausto Colombo, returns to the theme of generations and social change, with a specific focus on the role of time and memory in the process of generation formation.