Società che invecchiano e conflitti tra generazioni
Title: Società che invecchiano e conflitti tra generazioni
Author: KOHLI, Martin
Citation: Manuela NALDINI, Cristina SOLERA and Paola Maria TORRIONI (eds), Corsi di vita e generazioni, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2012, Collana "Itinerari", 109-128
The ‘social question’ dominating the end of the 19th century was the integration of the industrial workers, in other words, the pacification of class conflict. This was achieved by giving workers some assurance of a stable life course, including the institutionalisation of retirement as a normal stage of life funded through public social security. At the beginning of the 21st century, class conflict seems to be defunct and its place taken over by generational conflict. It emerges from historical watersheds and from economic, demographic and cultural changes that create cleavages between generations. However, it remains essential to assess the extent of the generational cleavage per se and the extent to which it masks the continued existence of the class cleavage between wealthy and poor (or owners and workers). There are moreover other cleavages that are usually categorized as “new” dimensions of inequality (in distinction to the “old” ones of class), such as those of gender and ethnicity (or “race”). Emphasizing the generational conflict as the new basic cleavage in society tends to downplay other inequalities, and by this, risks being ideological: It may function as a way to divert attention from the still existing problems of poverty and exclusion within generations, e.g., those based on class or gender.
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