Gender and Generations: Using a Generational Framework to Rethink Continuity and Change in the Gender Order
It is now common for youth studies scholars to advocate for research that connects a focus on youth “transitions” and youth “cultures”, particularly as they intersect in the context of social change across many spheres, including the gender order. A risk in the rise of a focus on bridging these established traditions of youth research is that a simplistic “middle ground” emerges that diminishes the important insights from previous research within each tradition and fails to engage with sophisticated contemporary framings of social structure and action. This article argues concepts from the sociology of generations can help bridge the gap between the study of youth transitions and youth cultures in a generative, not reductive, way. The sociology of generations provides tools for tracing the dynamic refiguring of key social divisions over time, including gender, through the intersection of structural change and the reworking of culture. Using examples from the usa and Australia, the paper finishes by tracing the ways that gender is being refigured in new generational conditions.
Keywords: Generation, Gender, Transitions, Youth Culture, Feminism.