Social generations in popular culture
Chapter, Peer reviewed
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Karl Mannheim’s concept of social generations has become incredibly influential and has been applied in ever-new ways for almost a century. With what seems to be renewed interest in it post-2000, there is reason to take a closer look at what the concept has been used for. Social generations today seem to be in vogue in the popular imagination, often as a means of creating in-groups and out-groups. This chapter discusses how the concept of social generations seems to have transitioned from being a focus of academic interest to being part of popular culture. Importantly, it has also moved back into academia, with popular terms being used in scholarly work. The uses and abuses of Mannheim’s ideas about social generations are a reminder of the creative life academic terms take on outside academia.