Popescu [Abstract]

The brief history of generation – defining the concept of generation. An analysis of literature review
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Alexandra Popescu [1]


The term of generation is used nowadays at conversational level to define various categories of factors / aspects: from age group, time frame, theory to the degree of kinship and animal kingdom/ regnum. As a consequence, the concept of generation is considered to be a complex term, with no well-known, unitary definition, that sometimes creates confusion in social sciences and humanities. Given the frequency of the use of this term, various scientist (from diverse domains) tried to identify and develop a comprehensive definition, but they have failed to reach a common ground, mostly as a consequence of the fact that in their research they have not taken into account the work of other authors that studied the same topic, but started the research process from the beginning. In sociology, the most iconic figure of the generational theory is considered to be Karl Mannheim, the German sociologist who managed to bring into attention the study of generations as a research subject throughout his work. However, there were also other authors (sociologists or not) who further contributed to the development of the generational theories throughout their research conducted in the years to come after Mannheim’s well-known paper. Therefore, this article aims at identifying the most iconic works that try to develop a definition for the concept of generation and at presenting the results of the research of various scientists in the field of generational theories, by conducting an extensive analysis of the literature review on this subject. Objective: The article aims to identify and map the work and results that have already been conducted and published in the domain of generational theories, in order to provide a comprehensive overview of the concept of generation. Therefore, the paper will briefly analyze and present the contributions of various authors (in domains such as sociology, psychology, arts, anthropology, management and so on) to the development of the study field of generations, as a separate sociological problem. Paper selection: Structured research was carried out (based on keywords such as generation, sociology, literature review, generational theory), with no limitations in terms of type, date of publication or language of publication. Search engines that have been used include: Google Scholar, Z-library, Annual Review of Sociology.

Keywords: Generation; literature review; sociology; Karl Mannheim; generational theories;

[1] Faculty of Sociology and Social Work, University of Bucharest, Romania, alexandra.popescu@drd.unibuc.ro.