generation

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generation

1. the act or process of bringing into being; production or reproduction, esp of offspring
2. 
a. a successive stage in natural descent of organisms: the time between when an organism comes into being and when it reproduces
b. the individuals produced at each stage
3. the normal or average time between two such generations of a species: about 35 years for humans
4. a phase or form in the life cycle of a plant or animal characterized by a particular type of reproduction
5. production of electricity, heat, etc.
6. Physics a set of nuclei formed directly from a preceding set in a chain reaction

generation

  1. a body of people who were born in the same period, variously defined.
  2. the period between the birth of such a group and the birth of their children, which, for demographic purposes, is usually accepted as 30 years.
MANNHEIM distinguished between generation as location (a birth cohort), and generation as actuality, where there is a sense of belonging to a group because of shared experience or feeling, e.g. the Sixties Generation, the Vietnam Generation. See also AGE SET, AGE GROUP, AGEING, LIFE COURSE.

Generation

 

in biology, a group of individuals with the same degree of kinship in relation to their common ancestors; the immediate offspring of the preceding generation. The longevity of a generation corresponds to the average reproductive age of an aggregate of individuals in a given species.


Generation

 

in demography, a term referring to people born in the same year. (The term “cohort” is also used.) The interaction and succession of generations constitute the age structure of a society. The term “generation” is also applied to a stage or step in descent from a common ancestor (grandfather, father, son, and so forth), with the interval between steps usually reckoned at 30 years.

A society’s age structure and the relationships that develop between generations are biological, social, and historical in character. They are biological in that the alternation of generations is linked to the natural life cycle, and social in that the division of functions among age groups and the criteria for this division depend on the socioeconomic structure of society. They are historical because each generation begins at a particular time. The members of a generation are united by certain lifetime experiences, and therefore, each generation is unique and unrepeatable. In demography, generational analysis makes it possible to discover long-range trends in population dynamics, as well as changes in the patterns of reproduction of the population and the length of productive life, for example.

Among the problems studied by sociologists and ethnologists are the relationship between age groups and the social structure, the social division of labor, and the methods of socialization and education of young people. The relationship between age groups and other factors may be rigid and direct or fairly flexible and indirect. In primitive society there was an inflexible, formal system of age groups (sometimes called age classes by ethnologists). Membership in them was formalized and associated with certain specific rights and obligations. In modern society the formal boundaries between age groups have been partially erased and have become indefinite. Nonetheless, age remains an important social and psychological characteristic.

In research on cultural history, the concept of the “generation” has primarily a symbolic meaning. It is associated less with a common time of birth than with the common, meaningful experiences of people who participated in or who lived at the time of certain important historical events (for example, “the generation of the October Revolution,” “the generation of the Great Patriotic War”). The concept is also applied to people linked by common intellectual orientations or attitudes (for example, the “lost generation”). The “life span” of such conventional generations is conditional and chronologically loose, and their designations are purely descriptive. The problem of generations is often discussed in connection with the problems of young people and the youth movement.

In non-Marxist literature there have been attempts to make the concept of the “generation” the basis for universal historical periodization (for example, in the works of J. Ortega y Gasset and J. Marias of Spain) or to represent the “conflict of generations” as a universal moving force in history (L. S. Feuer of the USA, for example). Marxist sociology rejects so abstract an approach. The age structure of any society is closely linked with its socioeconomic class structure. Therefore, the actual relationships among the representatives of different generations, including the relationships between parents and children, may be understood only in the context of the more general social situation (the pace of historical development, the character of social conflicts, and the level of ideological cohesiveness or division in a society, for example).

REFERENCES

Urlanis, B. Ts. Istorih odnogo pokoleniia. (Sotsial’ no-áemograficheskii ocherk.) Moscow, 1968.
Preemstvennost’ pokolenii kak sotsiologicheskaia problema. Moscow, 1973.
Eisenstadt, S. N. From Generation to Generation, 2nd ed. New York, 1966.
Riley, M. W., and A. Foner. Aging and Society, vols. 1–3. New York, 1968–72.

I. S. KON

generation

[‚jen·ə′rā·shən]
(biology)
A group of organisms having a common parent or parents and comprising a single level in line of descent.
(computer science)
Any one of three groups used to historically classify computers according to their electronic hardware components, logical organization and software, or programming techniques; computers are thus known as first-, second-, or third-generation; a particular computer may possess characteristics of all generations simultaneously.
One of a family of data sets, related to one another in that each is a modification of the next most recent data set.

generation

An attempt to classify the degree of sophistication of programming languages.

See First generation language -- Fifth generation language.

generation

An instance or version of something with regard to past occurrences. For example, the second generation of a product is the second version of the item, with the implication that some changes have been made.
References in classic literature ?
His duties all performed, --the highest prosperity attained,--his race and future generations fixed on a stable basis, and with a stately roof to shelter them for centuries to come,--what other upward step remained for this good man to take, save the final step from earth to the golden gate of heaven
It was pleasant in the summer forenoons -- when the fervent heat, that almost liquefied the rest of the human family, merely communicated a genial warmth to their half torpid systems -- it was pleasant to hear them chatting in the back entry, a row of them all tipped against the wall, as usual; while the frozen witticisms of past generations were thawed out, and came bubbling with laughter from their lips.
All day long the rivers of hot blood poured forth, until, with the sun beating down, and the air motionless, the stench was enough to knock a man over; all the old smells of a generation would be drawn out by this heat--for there was never any washing of the walls and rafters and pillars, and they were caked with the filth of a lifetime.
The furniture once appropriated to the lower apartments had from time to time been removed here, as fashions changed: and the imperfect light entering by their narrow casement showed bedsteads of a hundred years old; chests in oak or walnut, looking, with their strange carvings of palm branches and cherubs' heads, like types of the Hebrew ark; rows of venerable chairs, high-backed and narrow; stools still more antiquated, on whose cushioned tops were yet apparent traces of half-effaced embroideries, wrought by fingers that for two generations had been coffin-dust.
He was undeniably handsome, graceful, well-bred -- but no close observer could look at him without suspecting that the stout old family stock had begun to wear out in the later generations, and that Mr.
As to finances public, because Monseigneur could not make anything at all of them, and must consequently let them out to somebody who could; as to finances private, because Farmer-Generals were rich, and Monseigneur, after generations of great luxury and expense, was growing poor.
And so quick were my thoughts, that I saw myself despised by unborn generations - Estella's children, and their children - while the wretch's words were yet on his lips.
The Red House was provisioned as if for a siege; and as for the spare feather-beds ready to be laid on floors, they were as plentiful as might naturally be expected in a family that had killed its own geese for many generations.
It has been thus, indeed, for four generations, since he who held Groan-Maker has always been unconquerable.
From their original inch or so of private handwriting they have spread and spread out across the world, and now whole generations of men find intellectual accommodation within them,--drinking fountains and other public institutions are erected upon them; yea, Carlyle has become a Chelsea swimming-bath, and "Highland Mary" is sold for whiskey, while Mr.
ADAM, thou know'st Heav'n his, and all the Earth Not this Rock onely; his Omnipresence fills Land, Sea, and Aire, and every kinde that lives, Fomented by his virtual power and warmd: All th' Earth he gave thee to possess and rule, No despicable gift; surmise not then His presence to these narrow bounds confin'd Of Paradise or EDEN: this had been Perhaps thy Capital Seate, from whence had spred All generations, and had hither come From all the ends of th' Earth, to celebrate And reverence thee thir great Progenitor.
Four generations had not sufficed to blend the hostile blood of the Normans and Anglo-Saxons, or to unite, by common language and mutual interests, two hostile races, one of which still felt the elation of triumph, while the other groaned under all the consequences of defeat.

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