This blog continues on from my last blog, ‘Kids these days’ with theme of history repeating itself.
What if I told you that everyone in America are all the same? That how they act as a child and how they are perceived as an elderly person, all the way down to their negative and positive attributes can be predicted by when they were born? And I don’t mean star signs, in case you were wondering.
The Strauss and Howe theory predicts just that. Depending on what generation you were born in, it can predict quite a lot about each person judging by what they went through as a child. According to the theory there are four different generation archetypes; Hero, Artist, Prophet and Nomad. If you are a baby boomer (between 1943 and 1960) you are a Prophet, from 1961 to 1981 Nomads were born, from 1982 to 2004 Heroes were born and since 2005 ‘till now Artists have been born and then the cycle will repeat. Below is a chart representing the attributes of each archetype.
|Reputation As Child||good||placid||spirited||bad|
|Coming of Age||empowering||unfulfilling||sanctifying||alienating|
Coming of Age
|Transition in Midlife||energetic to hubristic||conformist to experimental||detached to judgmental||frenetic to exhausted|
|Reputation as Elder||powerful||sensitive||wise||tough|
|Treatment as Elder||rewarded||liked||respected||abandoned|
|How it is Nurtured||tightening||overprotective||relaxing||underprotective|
|How it Nurtures||relaxing||underprotective||tightening||overprotective|
Not only are there four different generation archetypes but William Strauss and Neil Howe also theorise four ‘turnings’. These turnings represent periods in time of how the general consensus of American’s are feeling socially.
High: Prophets die, Nomads become the elderly, Heroes enter midlife, Artists enter young adulthood and prophets are born. It is a period of time when the majority of Americans are confident in the direction they want to go and institutions are strong. However those outside the majority often cannot tolerate the conformity.
Awakening: Nomads die, Heroes become the elderly, Artists enter midlife, Prophets enter young adulthood and Nomads are born. After the conformity of the ‘High’ turning, the country compensates by revolting against social norms and search for their own identity.
Unravelling: Heroes die, Artists become the elderly, Prophets enter midlife, Nomads enter young adulthood and Heroes are born. Institutions are now distrusted and individuality reaches a peak.
Crisis: Artists die, Prophets become the elderly, Nomads enter midlife, Heroes enter young adulthood and Artists are born. Institutions are torn down and started all over again. People begin to band together more forming large groups instead of the more ‘each to their own’ way of living.
So if you look somewhat closely at the attributes and ideals of each archetype you notice how the generation following a generation are quite different to each other. This can be seen as the younger generation being sick and tired of the way there parents and people of their age perceive the world and how they run the country. The views and personal attributes that seem the most cool or hip and happening is actually very similar views to how the generation that has just died out. The cycle of compensating for what they lived through as a child seems to never end, and think that these ‘new’ ideas have never been thought of before because the generation that once thought that are gone.
Associates2016LifeCourse (1999) Lifecourse associates: Generational archetypes. Available at: http://www.lifecourse.com/about/method/generational-archetypes.html (Accessed: 8 May 2016).
Brooks, D. (2000) What’s the matter with kids today? Not a thing. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/05/books/what-s-the-matter-with-kids-today-not-a-thing.html?ref=bookreviews (Accessed: 8 May 2016).