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Appeals to the social category of generation — particularly the differential opportunities available between generations — are found on both the political right and left as well as in the media in Britain.1 In effect, generation is ‘an emergent master-narrative on which actors of quite different persuasion converge as they seek to reshape prevalent conceptions of obligation, collective action and community’ (White 2013: 217). Generation is posed as the central social division in society in an attempt to shape social policy in particular ways. It is questionable, however, whether or not such ‘generationalism’ has any purchase beyond its political practice, reflecting and creating wider social understandings.

Original publication





Book title

Palgrave Macmillan Studies in Family and Intimate Life

Publication Date



31 - 47