Generational intelligence


Ariela Lowenstein, University of Haifa (Israel)


The lecture examined a newly emerging model of intergenerational relationships that takes as its starting point the degree to which it is possible to place oneself in the position of a person of another age, the ‘age-other’. It explored an experiential approach that draws on both sociological thinking on ‘generational consciousness’ and a debate in family gerontology on the relationships between conflict, solidarity and ambivalence. The main emphasis was on the processes of generational experience, and a working distinction is made between the informational ‘intelligence’ that is culturally available to social actors and the degree to which it is possible to ‘act intelligently’. The latter itemised the steps that would need to be taken to become critically self aware of age as a factor in social relations, including the relative ability to recognise one’s personal generational distinctiveness, acquiring understanding of the relationship between generations, critical awareness of the value stance being taken toward generational positions and finally, and acting in a manner that is generationally aware. The lecture concludes with a consideration of how sustainable generational relations can be encouraged and the implications for future research into intergenerational relationships.


International seminar


European Centre