Appendicies on survey results, films, Internet resources, large global surveys of youth, academic research, and bibliography.
While researching Generations Y and Z for the past decade for a book series about global youth activism and viewpoints, I discovered a split between scholarly viewpoints about Gen Me vs. Gen We. Some researchers fault youth for being narcissists and others praise them for being altruistic. I was surprised that many scholars who write about youth don’t actually talk to them or include their voices when young people face difficult economic challenges globally, with high youth unemployment rates and increasing tuition costs. It’s easier to blame the victim than the economic system that generates more and more inequality, just as teachers get blamed for structural problems in the education system. Ageism in Youth Studies:Generation Maligned exposes how authors ignore youth, disparage them, and fault them for being anxious, depressed and narcissistic without pressing for change in the economic system that harms them. Youth are the best-educated generation ever, an altruistic group that cares about global problems. They should be viewed as a resource in the present, as they are in Nordic countries, rather than as a source of trouble.
Ageism is prevalent in a great deal of current scholarship in the social sciences as scholars fault youth for being delinquent or politically apathetic. Researchers ignore young people’s actual voices, despite their leadership in recent global uprisings, some of which unseated entrenched dictators. Neoliberalism must be exposed in its focus on youth sub-cultures and styles rather than economic barriers caused by growing inequality and rising youth unemployment rates. Ageism in Youth Studies also discusses the debate about “Generation We or Me” and if Millennials are narcissistic. Resources about global youth studies are included, along with the results of the author’s surveys and interviews with over 4,000 young people from 88 countries.
Young people are the group who most disapprove of Trump, accord to the Pew Research Center and a Gallup Poll.[i] Harvard graduate students organized a free online “Resistance School” for students nationally. Beginning on April 5, the school includes videos and interactive readings, initially with four sessions, which quickly got thousands of sign-ups.[ii] The founders encourage groups to enroll rather than individuals. Three former Hillary Clinton staffers created an NGO called Flippable to identify districts most likely to flip to Democrats so thta donors can contribute to those campaigns.
[i] Charles Blow, “Resilience of the Resistance,” New York Times, April 24, 2017.
Tech journalist Ryan McCready countered the common criticisms of Millennials in the US in an article titled, “Millenials Don’t Suck, You’re Just Old and Hate Change.” [i] He pointed out they’ve innovated new ways to “live, love, and work,” including himself. He characterizes his generation as “entrepreneurial, resilient, accepting and charitable,” able to change quickly to match the rapidly changing world around them. They have to deal with the recession and unemployment rate double that of people over 30 so that 20% live in poverty. Pushed to be entrepreneurial by the economy, two-thirds want to start their own business rather than rise up the ranks of an established business. They create companies at twice the rate of Gen Xers and Boomers did when they were young adults.
They’re not lazy, according to McCready. Technology keeps them always checking on work emails, but they like flexible work hours so they can balance work and life. They’re more likely to have a college degree than older generations, almost half of the graduates studied in the STEM fields, burdened by large student debts. All these influences delay traditional adult actions such as moving out from their parents’ home, getting married, having children, and buying homes. They also stay home longer because many consider them best friends and talk daily. Although McCready thinks relationships are their priority, it doesn’t require marriage partly because many of their parents divorced. They care more about being good parents. His statements are corroborated in many studies I’ve read.
Ryan McCready, “Millenials Don’t Suck, You’re Just Old and Hate Change,” Venngage, May 17, 2016.
[i] Ryan McCready, “Millennials Don’t Suck, You’re Just Old and Hate Change,” Venngage, May 17, 2016.
What claims to be the largest global generation study of Millennial employees under age 33 reviewed over 9,000 surveys of Milliennial employees, plus 300 interviews and 30 focus groups, in 2011 and 2012. The PwC network of professional services provides tax, assurance and advisory services. By 2016 almost 80% of PwC employees were Millennials and administration was worried about low retention for that age group. Their findings back up my observation they’re the Relationship Generation. They’re more likely to leave “if their needs for support, appreciation and flexibility are not met.” What’s important to young workers is time to develop their personal lives—especially employees in developed countries, flexibility and leverage of technology and social media at work, interesting team work and emotional connection at work. Frequent feedback and support from managers is more important than salary. Millennials like having possibility of assignments in another country due to being “particularly attuned to the world around them,” and corporate social responsibility programs that match their values and appreciate input into important issues more often than older generations.
Dennis Finn and Anne Donovan, “PwC’s NextGen: A Global Generational Study”, 2013
The defining characteristic of US Millennial is their individualism, maintains Gen X columnist Ross Douthat, based on Pew Research surveys.[i] He links this, their only “ism,” with their libertarianism and sometimes indifference, as with declining interest in collective crusades to protect the environment. Along the same line, they have personal religious beliefs but don’t affiliate with a religious organization, are optimistic but mistrustful of others.
[i] Ross Douthat, “The Age of Individualism,” New York Times, March 15, 2014.