The Problem of Generation in Reflexive Modernity

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Karl Mannheim defines generation as the congregate individuals who share a common location in the historical dimension exposing to similar social and cultural dynamics, which are based on age but not reducible to it. The members within the same generation can have polar attitude to the social and cultural currents commonly shared. Mannheim’s prolegomena remains instructive to the sociological study of generation. But his theory (1927) came out at the peak of industrial modernisation. I argue that the meaning and significance of generation have to be refined or reconceptualised in the reflexive modernisation (Ulrich Beck) and the informational hunter and gatherer society (Manuel Castells). I will study the effect of individualisation—continuing disembedding of individual from established social structure and class in reflexive modernisation—on the structural common location to see how it would affect the formative base of generation. Also, I will follow Castells’s thesis of informational hunter and gatherer society to explore the effect of information technology on the generation based exposure to social and cultural dynamics.


Keywords: Generation, Reflexive Modernisation, Information Society
Stream: Sociology, Geography
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Siu Han Chan

Doctoral Candidate, Department of Sociology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Hong Kong, China

My research interests are sociology of knowledge, sociology of intellectuals, and cultural sociology. I did my undergraduate and MPhil degrees in Sociology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Then I got a Master of Art degree in Social and Political Thought at the University of Sussex, United Kingdom. I am now a doctoral candidate at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. My doctoral project is about the relation of Tradition and Worldview of Intellectuals. It is a comparative study of Karl Mannheim, Jurgen Habermas and Tang Junyi.

Ref: I08P0333