Approaching Generational Intelligence: Complexity and Agency in an Intergenerational World

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 5:30 PM
Room: Booth 40
Oral Presentation
Ariela LOWENSTEIN , University of Haifa, Israel
Simon BIGGS , Research and Policy Centre, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
‘Generational intelligence’ (GI) proposes a psychosocial approach to the questions of cultural adaptation to demographic change and a reconceptualization of social ageism.  It places age related generational identities in the domain of intergenerational relations and contexts such as families, workplaces, in policy development and in civil society.  GI suggests three dimensions, key to addressing the degree to which it is possible to place oneself in the position of another age group. These include: the degree to which one becomes conscious of self as part of a generation, a relative ability to put oneself in the position of other generations, and a relative ability to negotiate intergenerational connection.

It is argued that dominant forms of adaptation provide limited opportunities for personal development and for age-specific identities to take shape. The value of empathic understanding, negotiated solutions and complementary roles between generational groups are examined as we move toward the discovery of age-specific contributions that may also throw light on the wider human condition. As such the approach works phenomenologically and is not overly concerned with reification based on lineage, cohort and chronological age. It also draws on a critical psychodynamic understanding of social relations in so far as a preconscious ‘unthought known’ is seen to play an important role in the maintenance of legitimized social identities and inequalities based on age. Implications for policy and the conduct and training for research are also critically examined.