ChapterPDF Available

Intergenerationality, Intergenerational Justice, Intergenerational Policies

Authors:

Abstract

“Age of life” is one of the essential characteristics that differentiate people. Age perception is also associated with social justice. The concept of age is defined ambiguously. At the same time, the different age criteria also forms the basis of age differentiation and age discrimination. The population lead to distinctions of age groups, age categories, and generations. Differences between generations also lead to Study in the concepts of intergenerationality, intergenerational justice, and intergenerational policies. A. Klimczuk, Intergenerationality, Intergenerational Justice, Intergenerational Policies, [in:] S. Thompson (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham 2015, pp. 419-423.
A. Klimczuk, Intergenerationality, Intergenerational Justice, Intergenerational Policies, [in:] S.
Thompson (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham,
MD 2015, pp. 419423.
1
INTERGENERATIONALITY
Intergenerationality, Intergenerational Justice, Intergenerational Policies
“Age of life” is one of the essential characteristics that differentiate people. Age perception is
also associated with social justice. The concept of age is defined ambiguously. At the same
time, the different age criteria also form the basis of age differentiation and age discrimination.
The population leads to distinctions of age groups, age categories, and generations. Differences
between generations also lead to study in the concepts of intergenerationality, intergenerational
justice, and intergenerational policies.
Multiple Meanings of the “Age” Concept
In the social sciences, standard variables for defining people are considered to be age, sex,
occupation, education, race, ethnicity, and social class. Generally, the “age of life” is
understood as the time from birth to death, or the life span from birth to the current moment
that determines the time of life. Usually, age is described in years and months.
The basic distinction recognizes the “biological age” (i.e., internal time of body) from
“chronological age.” The concept of biological age is determined by changes taking place in
the body during the course of an individuals development subjected to a complex influence of
living conditions. Biological age is about the efficiency and viability of the organism, while
chronological age is a simple linear function of time from birth to the current moment in life.
In other words, chronological age is demographic age, calendar age, and the number of years
lived. Both of these measures are irreversible processes in the body as it passes through
successive phases of individual development. In other words, childhood is followed by youth,
while adulthood is followed by medium and late adulthoodnot vice versa.
Chronological age does not necessarily equate individuals with mental age, social age,
economic age, and social/legal age. Mental/psychological age is the efficiency of intellectual
functions, senses, and adaptability. The social age is the social situation of a man determined
on the basis of whether the person complies with appropriate social roles. For example, a young
child is an elementary school student while an elderly person is regarded as a grandparent.
Economic age refers to the individuals place in the division of labor. This could be pre-working
age, prime-age/working age, and post-working age. Pre-working and post-working ages are
referred to as nonproductive ages. Finally, the social/legal age refers to the date of receipt of a
national entitlement to social benefits such as pensions.
A. Klimczuk, Intergenerationality, Intergenerational Justice, Intergenerational Policies, [in:] S.
Thompson (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham,
MD 2015, pp. 419423.
2
Specifying Age Diversity: Age Group, Age Category, Generation
“Age diversity” is the study of the social differences and characteristics attributed to people of
all ages according to various criteria. Social identity is, therefore, dependent on the age of the
individual in different social environments that define and determines social roles. The roles
assigned to age are then culturally relativized.
Moreover, age diversity is described in terms of age group, age category, and generation
(Mortimer & Shanahan, 2006). The “age group” (cohort) is a collection of people who are the
same age or in the same age range, who are born in the same year or within a specified time.
The age group concept is also used interchangeably with the terms category of age and age
class. For example, in demographics, the population is divided into five compartments: zero to
four years old, five to nine years old, and so on. Each of these compartments is an age group.
Age group is, therefore, a statistical category and is a collection of people who are similar in
terms of age and differ in this respect from others. Age group is also a sociological category.
Researchers recognize age as a feature common to this set of people, so it can mean that they
have a similar social situation.
“Social category by age/age category” is a set of people similar in some socially significant
features that are aware of the similarities and their distinctiveness from other categories. Social
categories, divided according to age, are, for example, “young people,” “people in middle age,”
and “old people/elderly.” Individuals within these social categories do not necessarily have to
maintain direct contact and interaction with like-minded people similar to them because those
interactions occur only in small social groups. For example, not all young people are among the
hippie subculture, but subjectively, despite this difference, they may be associated with such
young people because of a similar age, similar social status, roles, tasks and development level,
life events, and lifestyles. Moreover, age category is also social strata, which is located below
or above the social stratification in terms of opportunities for achieving socially valued goods
such as wealth, power, prestige, education, and health. For example, the elderly may differ by
the number of retirement benefits they receive, but they can feel connected by the fact that they
have, in a given society, less prestige and suffer from poor health. Social stratification by age
varies from country to country and types of welfare states. In addition, age categories can
transform into social classes. This transition is possible when there is a sense of a more general
connection between people of an age category in the areas of economic interest, network
communication and engagement, and class consciousness based on the idea of the existence of
A. Klimczuk, Intergenerationality, Intergenerational Justice, Intergenerational Policies, [in:] S.
Thompson (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham,
MD 2015, pp. 419423.
3
conflicting class interests as well as organizational structures for engaging the class struggle. In
other words, it is theoretically possible for there to be a class conflict between young and old
people.
“Generation” can be interpreted most generally as a community of individuals belonging to
the same age group born at approximately the same time. People born in the same period
(usually within one year), sharing social and/or demographic characteristics, are considered of
the same generation. The concept of generation, just like “age,” is interpreted ambiguously.
Generation may be defined as a “link in the genealogy,” such as kinships. For example, gener-
ations depend on their parentscommon ancestors having similar interests and commonalities.
Generation may also be defined as a “link in the culture.” For example, this is the dependence
of children on their parents, or students on teachers, in gathering knowledge, skills, and
traditions. Two familiar and well-cited generations are the postwar generation and the well-
known (and often celebrated) baby boomer generation. Generations are also “ahistorical” when
they are carried out as part of a comparative analysis of people in the same age from different
societies and eras. Finally, the generation is a “historical” community with a certain hierarchy
of values, attitudes, and common momentous experiences (such as war, changes in the social
system, and economic crises).
Generation Gap Concept
In the time period after World War II, there were rapid changes in the social, economic, and
cultural characteristics of societies, including changes in fashion, lifestyles, electoral behavior,
expectations of work, and values. Differences between younger and older people, in particular
children and their parents, were then referred to as a “generational gap” or “generational
conflict” (Binstock, 2006). It is possible to identify two reasons for this phenomenon. First, in
industrial societies, specific stages of socioeconomic development were assigned to individual
biological roles. For example, youth corresponded with education, medium age was the stage
of work, and old age was a time for leisure and pension. In postindustrial societies, these steps
have not been followed consistently. For example, there is lifelong learning, unemployment no
longer needs to be considered as a lack of potential and opportunity for finding a new job in the
future, and flexible retirement systems are used while continuing work. Additionally, modernity
leads to the development of individually targeted institutions for copresence and responsibilities
of persons in different age groups. This “age segregation” involves placing children within
educational institutions or childcare centers while parents are isolated in work (public,
A. Klimczuk, Intergenerationality, Intergenerational Justice, Intergenerational Policies, [in:] S.
Thompson (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham,
MD 2015, pp. 419423.
4
commercial, or nongovernment entities), and the elderly are living in retirement homes, nursing
homes, or senior daycare centers. The generation gap exposes barriers to mentoring,
cooperation, and other benefits of cross-generational interactions.
Toward Intergenerational Justice and Intergenerational Policies
At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the focus of debates about the relationship between
the rational equity and justice (Binstock, 2006). There are many types of “intergenerational
relationships/intergenerationality,” or interactions between members of different generations.
As Szukalski (2012) noted, there are also intergenerational bonds, solidarity, contract, and
conflict. Intergenerational relationships and contract are value-free terms, bond and solidarity
are positively characterized, and conflict has a negative meaning. There are also other concepts
such as intergenerational integration, war, disintegration, and ambivalence. “Intergenerational
relationship” is generally understood as a relationship between individuals or groups from
different generations, which include interactions, opinions, attitudes, and stereotypes. There are
no obligations between generations. “Intergenerational bond” is a sense of biological, cultural,
and economic interaction with other generations with a positive attitude toward individuals
from other generations. Bond is used to describing the attitude of one generation who believes
they “should do something” to help other generationsfor example, teach them or share
resources with them.
Szukalski (2012) also described other concepts. “Intergenerational solidarity” is a mutual
responsibility between generations toward one another where they consider each others
activities, interests, needs, and opinions. This solidarity also includes a “we must do something”
attitude. While “intergenerational conflict” is a term describing one generation that, contrary to
the will of another, will not help the other generation and also makes it difficult for the other
generation to act. There are also other relations such as “intergenerational mobility,” which
describes changes in social status between younger and older generations that may rely on the
improvement or deterioration in the position of the group. Sometimes the term
intergenerational cycle of violence is also used to describe a continuation of violence or abuse
from one generation to the next. For example, when a child witnesses domestic violence, they
may repeat that same pattern of behavior as an adult. Additionally, there is the term
intergenerational ambivalence, which is the coexistence of different attitudes and ways of
thinking about relationships at both micro (individual families) and macro (entire societies)
levels. It is possible to organize the divergent interests of different generations. Under the
A. Klimczuk, Intergenerationality, Intergenerational Justice, Intergenerational Policies, [in:] S.
Thompson (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham,
MD 2015, pp. 419423.
5
concept of “intergenerational contract/agreement,” written and/or unwritten rules of the
redistribution of social status, which include wealth, power, and prestige, can exist between
generations.
Intergenerational equity and justice are similar but not equivalent concepts.
“Intergenerational equity” is a broader concept than “intergenerational justice.” Szukalski
(2012) pointed out that while every injustice assumes the existence of inequalities, inequality
is not present in every case of injustice. For example, there are individual differences in the
health status of groups and their biological characteristics and physiology. So intergenerational
equity can be understood as equity in relations considered as equal rights under the law, such
as security, political equity, voting rights, freedom of speech and assembly, property rights,
economic equity, access to education, health care, and social security. This equity can be
horizontalequal opportunities for the same generation in different collectivitiesfor
example, young people in different countries. This equity is also verticaldifferent treatment
of different generations in order to compensate for differences in, for example, education and
place of origin.
Tremmel (2009), in his “intergenerational justice” theory, defines it as a situation in which
every generation has a moral obligation to the presently existing generationsyoung and old
(temporal generations) as well as past and future generations (intertemporal generations).
Justice means that decisions made in the present time are based on the calculation of losses and
benefits for other generations. This implies, for example, that adults are responsible for the
futures of the children and the elderly, but also for their future living conditions. Tremmel
(2009) also noted that intergenerational justice should be considered separately from “intra-
generational justice,” which is justice between persons of the same age. Examples of
intragenerational justice are: socialbetween the poor and the rich within a country;
internationalbetween different countries, independent from the revenue repartition in those
countries; genderbetween men and women; and otherbetween the ill and the healthy, those
with and those without children, persons of different ethnic and religious backgrounds, and
more. Meanwhile, intergenerational justice is the relations between generations that include
temporal (intertemporal, family-related, or spatial-level), global, national, and regional focus.
Intergenerational justice is considered in connection with transition economics, social policy,
government budget-making, environmental concerns, youth rights, and elderly law. However,
generational justice should be distinguished from “sustainability.” Intergenerational justice is
considered in sustainability in terms of ecology and finances, while intragenerational justice
A. Klimczuk, Intergenerationality, Intergenerational Justice, Intergenerational Policies, [in:] S.
Thompson (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham,
MD 2015, pp. 419423.
6
mainly aims at international justice (conditions of living in the North and the South), justice
between the poor and the rich within a country, and justice between men and women. Other
main approaches to intergenerational justice are indirect reciprocity; the mutual advantage;
utilitarianism; the Lockean proviso; the Rawlsian egalitarianism; and Brundtlands
sufficientarianism (Gosseries, 2008).
“Intergenerational policies” can be understood as public policies, collections of activities
focused on the development and implementation of a specific contract between generations
(Klimczuk, 2013). This policy applies to establishing and maintaining “regime,” which is the
rules defining the shape of relationships between generations, written or unwritten, and the
principles present in the law, religion, ethics, and customs. Intergenerational policies include
discourse, negotiating the use of ethical and ideological arguments on the scales, and
orientations and ways of resource redistribution between generations. Moreover, such policies
may be forced upon other generations through physical force or through symbolic violence by
another generation but can also be cocreated through dialogue. Intergenerational policies can
be targeted to increase age integration by facilitating interaction between people of different
age groups by providing physical proximity, developing common interests, or by other
mechanisms. The purpose of integration is to eliminate social barriers and difficulties associated
with age, including discrimination on the grounds of age. Intergenerational policies are based
on interdependence and reciprocity between the generations for basic needs such as income,
health care, social services, educational policy, employment policy, and architectural and
environmental policies. Intergenerational policies contain specific programs and actions aimed
at supporting the simultaneous participation of children, youth, and older adults. Examples
include solutions, such as “intergenerational shared sites” (spaces where participants from
different age groups interact during regularly scheduled, planned intergenerational activities);
“communities for all ages” (engaging community residents of all ages and their organizations
in leadership roles); and World Health Organization Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities
and Communities (exchange of experience and mutual learning on creating universal physical
and social environments).
Andrzej Klimczuk
References
Binstock, R. H. (2006). Intergenerational equity. In R. Schulz, L. Noelker, K. Rockwood, &
A. Klimczuk, Intergenerationality, Intergenerational Justice, Intergenerational Policies, [in:] S.
Thompson (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Diversity and Social Justice, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham,
MD 2015, pp. 419423.
7
R. Sprott (Eds.), The encyclopedia of aging (pp. 607-9). New York: Springer Publishing
Company.
Gosseries, A. (2008). Theories of intergenerational justice: A synopsis. S.A.P.I.EN.S, 1(1),
Retrieved from http://sapiens.revues.org/165.
Klimczuk, A. (2013). Analysis of intergenerational policy models. Ad Alta: Journal of
Interdisciplinary Research, 3(1): 66-69.
Mortimer, J. T. & Shanahan, M. J. (Eds.). (2006). Handbook of the life course. New York:
Springer Publishing Company.
Szukalski, P. (2012). Solidarność pokoleń: Dylematy relacji międzypokoleniowych (Solidarity
between generations: The dilemmas of intergenerational relations). Łódź, Poland:
Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego.
Tremmel, J. (2009). A theory of intergenerational justice. London; Sterling, VA: Earthscan.
Additional Reading
Gosseries, A. & Meyer, L. H. (2009). Intergenerational justice. New York: Oxford University
Press.
Meyer, L. (2010). Intergenerational justice. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of
philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/justice-intergenerational/
Powers, M. & Faden, R. (2008). Social justice: The moral foundations of public health and
health policy. New York: Oxford University Press.
Sanchez, M. (Ed.). (2007). Intergenerational programmes: Towards a society for all ages.
Barcelona: “la Caixa” Foundation.
Shelton, D. (2010). Intergenerational equity. In R. Wolfrum & C. Kojima (Eds.), Solidarity: A
structural principle of international law (pp. 123-68). Heidelberg: Springer.
Tremmel, J. (2008). Demographic change and intergenerational justice: The implementation
of long-term thinking in the political decision making process. Berlin: Springer.
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Book
Full-text available
Intergenerational justice has been achieved if the opportunities of the members of the next generation to fulfill their needs are better than those of the members of the preceding generation. For this, each generation ought to leave for the next generation an amount of resources is at least equal to its own amount. The book deals with the complex relationship between intergenerational justice and demographic change and is characterized by its interdisciplinary approach. The authors come from a multitude of professional backgrounds and from several countries. This illustrates the implications of the demographic shift from many different perspectives. The book deals not only with the aspects of economic policy but also with environmental, societal and philosophical issues. The comprehensive volume is composed of five sections that pinpoint demographic trends, examine the impact of demographic changes on key indicators, investigate the relationship between key indicators and intergenerational justice, scrutinize population policies, and finally propose ways to implement long-term thinking on these issues.
Article
Full-text available
Contemporary demographic processes forcing increasing attention to the problems of relationships and dependencies between the different age groups. The ageing of the population in each society leads to changes in the contacts between young people, adults and the elderly. It is reasonable to undertake research on the concept of "solidarity of generations". Maintaining relationships without generational conflict requires actions in the field of social policy known as intergenerational policy. Aim of this article is to present some of its models, which allow not only to analyze the changes in the various communities, but also to create recommendations for public intervention. Description will include activities at the international, national, regional and local levels.
Article
Full-text available
In this paper, the author offers a synoptic view of different theories of intergenerational justice, along two dimensions (savings/dissavings) and three modalities (prohibition, authorisation, obligation). After presenting successively the indirect reciprocity, the mutual advantage, the utilitarian and the Lockean approaches, special attention is given to the egalitarian theory of intergenerational justice. Two key differences between the egalitarian view on intergenerational justice and the sufficientarian interpretation of sustainability are highlighted.
Book
Full-text available
The appeal to 'our obligations to future generations' is one of the most forceful, emotional and effective arguments available to politicians and citizens and is the cornerstone of all modern policies aimed at sustainable development. Yet, the exact nature and extent of these obligations are unclear - who owes what to whom, exactly, and why? This highly accessible book provides an extensive and comprehensive overview of current research and theory about why and how we should protect future generations. It exposes how and why the interests of people today and those of future generations are often in conflict and what can be done. It rebuts critical concepts such as Parfits' 'non-identity' paradox and Beckerman's denial of any possibility of intergenerational justice. The core of the book is the lucid application of a 'veil of ignorance' to derive principles of intergenerational justice which show that our duties to posterity are stronger than is often supposed. Tremmel's approach demands that each generation both consider and improve the well-being of future generations. To measure the well-being of future generations Tremmel employs the Human Development Index rather than the metrics of utilitarian subjective happiness. The book thus answers in detailed, concrete terms the two most important questions of every theory of intergenerational justice: 'what to sustain' and 'how much to sustain?' Ultimately this book provides a theory of intergenerational justice that is both intellectually robust and practical with wide applicability to law, policy, economics, climate change and all other contexts that affect future generations.
Book
Building on the success of the 2003 Handbook of the Life Course, this second volume identifies future directions for life course research and policy. The introductory essay and the chapters that make up the five sections of this book show consensus on strategic “next steps” in life course studies. These next steps are explored in detail in each section: Section I, on life course theory, provides fresh perspectives on well-established topics, including cohorts, life stages, and legal and regulatory contexts. It challenges life course scholars to move beyond common individualistic paradigms. Section II highlights changes in major institutional and organizational contexts of the life course. It draws on conceptual advances and recent empirical findings to identify promising avenues for research that illuminate the interplay between structure and agency. It examines trends in family, school, and workplace, as well as contexts that deserve heightened attention, including the military, the criminal justice system, and natural and man-made disaster. The remaining three sections consider advances and suggest strategic opportunities in the study of health and development throughout the life course; methodological innovations, including qualitative and three-generational longitudinal research designs, causal analysis, growth curves, and the study of place; and building bridges between life course research and public policy.
Article
This essay analyzes the legal meaning of “intergenerational equity” and evaluates the practical implementation of the concept. The essay begins by considering the meaning of the two terms in the phrase: “intergenerational” and “equity.” It then looks at the various rationales given for concern with this topic and how they link to the topic of solidarity, followed by an overview of some of the main subject areas in which the issue of intergenerational equity arises. It proceeds to assess the status of intergenerational equity in international law and to identify various principles associated with the concept. Finally, it turns to a discussion of how intergenerational equity as a form of solidarity might be implemented in practice.
Article
Recently we argued that social justice is concerned with human well-being, which is best understood as involving plural, irreducible dimensions, each of which represents something of independent moral significance. Health is one of these distinct dimensions of well-being, as is personal security, the development and exercise of cognitive capacities for reasoning, living under conditions of social respect, developing and sustaining deep personal attachments, and being able to lead self-determining lives. In this paper, we address why considerations of justice, and not utilitarian aims as applied narrowly to health outcomes, are most foundational to public health. In particular, we argue that the aspiration for improvement of the health of populations defines the positive aim of justice in public health, along with the negative aim of reducing or combating systematic disadvantage that affects adversely historically situated social groups and, more generally, children across the normal life span when their well-being is not assigned a special priority in the development of public health policies.
Intergenerational equity
  • R H Binstock
Binstock, R. H. (2006). Intergenerational equity. In R. Schulz, L. Noelker, K. Rockwood, & R. Sprott (Eds.), The encyclopedia of aging (pp. 607-9). New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Solidarność pokoleń: Dylematy relacji międzypokoleniowych (Solidarity between generations: The dilemmas of intergenerational relations)
  • P Szukalski
Szukalski, P. (2012). Solidarność pokoleń: Dylematy relacji międzypokoleniowych (Solidarity between generations: The dilemmas of intergenerational relations). Łódź, Poland: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego.
Intergenerational justice
  • A Gosseries
  • L H Meyer
Gosseries, A. & Meyer, L. H. (2009). Intergenerational justice. New York: Oxford University Press.