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Fourth Turning

“Why Are Millennials Killing Their Bosses?”

A generational cohort is a grouping of people born within the same time period who may share similar cultural experiences. It's used in social sciences, meaning it can get incorporated into marketing and may result in entrepreneurs writing generationist news articles when it fails.

Most generations don't have a concrete start and end dates, but they often last 15 to 30 years. The lack of concrete start and end dates result in cuspers, born where generations overlap, and the overlap can sometimes be considered its own generation, but these are often ignored. Due to timespans being vague, I'll be using a three-decade model as it fits perfectly with the latest two saeculum.

Turnings and Archetypes

The Strauss-Howe Generation Theory claims that generations are cyclical with every generation following a recurring archetype determined by the turning they were born in, banking on the idea that a crisis occurs every four generations as people wane between individualism and community. I've organized the four turnings and corresponding archetypes into an easily accessible chart below.

Turning (Social era) Archetype
• Institutions are strong.
• Individualism is weak, but communities are strong.
• Society is confident.
Prophet (Idealist)
• Spoiled, carefree children in a High.
• Self-absorbed, young crusaders in an Awakening.
• Principle-focused adults in an Unraveling.
• Guiding elders in a Crisis.
• Institutions are attacked in the name of autonomy.
• Society seeks individualism.
Nomad (Reactive)
• Under-protected children in an Awakening.
• Alienated young adults in an Unraveling.
• Age into pragmatic adult leaders in a Crisis.
• Resilient elders in a High.
• Institutions are weak or distrusted.
• Individualism is strong.
• Society seeks enjoyment.
Hero (Civic)
• Protected children in an Unraveling.
• Team-oriented, young optimists in a Crisis.
• Energetic, overconfident adults in a High.
• Politically powerful elders in an Awakening.
• Institutions are destroyed and rebuilt.
• Society seeks communities.
Artist (Adaptive)
• Overprotected children as adults focus on Crisis.
• Conforming young adults in a High.
• Process-oriented adult leaders in an Awakening.
• Thoughtful elders in an Unraveling.

While the theory initially focused on generations within the United States, later publications show the theory being applied to western generations spanning as far back as the 15th century according to this chart. However, it should be noted that the theory is rather recent as the books were published from 1991 to 2008, so critics may claim that the theory is an elaborate version of astrology with history.

Western Generations

Time Range Generation Archetype Following Cusper Generation
Lost Generation Nomad
Greatest Generation
(Interbellum Generation)
Silent Generation Artist
Baby Boomers
(Me Generation)
Generation Jones
Generation X
(MTV Generation)
(The Oregon Trail Generation)
(Generation Y)
"Generation Z"
(See Issues with Early Labeling)
"Generation Alpha" Prophet

Influences and Issues

90s Kids and Millennials

For some reason, researchers argue that the Millennial generation ends prematurely within the 1990s rather than the early 2000s and I have a theory that this is largely due to the “90s kid” subculture as the term has become largely synonymous with Millennial, but I will admit that there are other reasons for the premature end such as the widespread availability of consumer electronics.

Early Labeling Issue

The issue with premature labeling is that tentative labels usually miss the mark and may get weaponized by bitter old people to incite generational strife, so the best course of action is to wait about 30 years and use meaningless, tentative names like with Generation X. Below is a handful of tentative labels for “Generation Z” that I've decided to give my own personal commentary or insight about.

  • Homeland Generation (2006)1) - This was a contest winner that shows heavy influence from the 9/11 attacks, suggesting that the generation will be more nationalist in response to the attack. However, Generation Z is more diverse, 9/11 war propaganda was phased out quickly, and there's also been a decline of public trust in the government since the attacks.2)
  • iGeneration (2006)3) - The modern equivalent of MTV Generation. I've noticed that the inventor views problematic smartphone use as a generational issue,4) ignoring how it's more of a societal issue instead. In addition, Howe has critiqued Twenge for being relentlessly declinist and believes her findings are more anecdotal than anything.5)
  • Snowflake Generation (2016) - A derogatory term invented by a British libertarian, though it's mostly used as a blanket term for Millennials and Generation Z in political discourse6) by Baby Boomers who fail to see how using the term is actually hypocritical.7) Howe has actually critiqued the term for painting a distorted picture of Millennials as it only focuses on the negatives.8)
  • Zoomer (2018) - It's a variant of the “30-year-old Boomer” meme on 4chan that makes fun of early Millennials, but with late Millennials and Generation Z instead. In a way, it's a modernized “newfag” insult. Etymologically, it doesn't make sense as birth rates are at a record low,9)10)11) but I'm sure that somebody will say Zoom, the Zs "Sleepy Joe" took, or the pro-Russian Z symbol.
  • Nintendo Generation (2022) - In February 2022, an Army major (O-4) was quoted, saying that the “Nintendo Generation” comes from a sedimentary lifestyle, resulting in more broken bones.12)
  • Generation Sensible (2022) - This comes from study about how young people “miss out on life” as they take less risks, yet suffer from limited autonomy, worsening mental health, and a general feeling of burden or responsibility coming from an increased awareness of social issues.13)14)
fourth_turning.txt · Last modified: 2024-05-12 17:45:16 by namelessrumia