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Rudolph Glitz : "“Generation” in the Humanities: Adapting Mannheim’s Modernist Concept.

Institut du Monde Anglophone (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3), 10 décembre 2017

Publié le 8 décembre 2017 Mis à jour le 8 décembre 2017

Rencontre bi-annuelle de la Société d'études modernistes

This paper addresses both the theoretical and the historical aspects of Karl Mannheim’s 1927 essay ‘The Problem of Generations’: the historical by highlighting several passages that can be read as thinly veiled attempts to theorize, and perhaps even defend, the often self-consciously generational movements and groupings we now regard as typically Modernist; the theoretical by pointing out and rectifying a minor omission in Mannheim’s model that will, I hope, facilitate the discussion of Modernism as a generational phenomenon. What Mannheim fails to delineate in his model (though he does imply it in some places), is the rather useful conceptual distinction between generations and age strata, a category that was subsequently foregrounded in the sociology of age (cf. Riley et al.’s 1972 study Aging and Society). Considering this distinction in the context of Modernist manifestos and their frequent invocations of youthfulness allows us, I would propose, to look at the Modernist generation as an unusually strong amalgamation of generational identity on the one hand and youth identity on the other. As such, it poses a challenge to the generational distinctiveness of all succeeding generations and appears likely to have directly contributed to the formation of the ‘youth cult’ that has dominated public discourse from the twentieth century until the present day.

Respondant: Catherine Lanone (Université Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3)

Mis à jour le 08 décembre 2017