Research on age cohorts

02Aug05

I had initiated a small research on my blog a long time ago. On understanding my generation. It was then trigerred by my loss of faith in the “younger generation” after they voted for Smriti Malhotra (of kyunki keta kapoor pays my salary fame) as a potential youth icon on MTV.

Someone recently wrote to me after seeing this post – she is doing her research on the Doordarshan era – to understand how it influenced our social perceptions. Reading her mail, I decided to restart this research again on this blog to see if it gets anywhere. Here is the idea – partly taken from my earlier post (for which I lost all comments which came in when I transferred my blog to this new url) and edited… And yes, this is not limited to my generation alone – if you have any interesting thoughts about your growing up years, do share them here…

I have been wading through many Indian blogs…. And came across quite a few Indian bloggers born in the mid-70’s..… What I see as the post-flower, pre-mouse generation….. I was born in the mid 1970s…. And I am interested in understanding my age cohorts.

The concept of age cohorts was highlighted by Rama Bijapurkar a few years ago in discussing cultural changes in India post liberalization. I’ve attempted to loosely explain the concept of age cohort : a group of people (who may be born around the same time frame) who grow up sharing the same social, cultural, political, educational experiences… The concept of age cohorts is significant because this shared set of experiences determine the values and beliefs they will carry all their life. For instance, the post-war baby boomers in the US.

Coming back to my age cohorts, I am very curious about what experiences we grew up sharing…. That has shaped they way we are today… This idea kept growing when I realized how much my husband and I (who were born in the same year, 1975) had in common even though we grew up in different parts of India. Me in metro, middle-class Madras. And he in small-town AP. There are so many shared experiences we keep exchanging that I wanted to see if others of that time also empathized with this.

So what are these shared experinces? Internet ? Technology ? : No, I don’t think we grew up with technology. We approached it as grown ups. (I do not consider a job with an IT company and being able to send e-mail as being “tech?). I am talking about being born internet-savvy, the way kids are today…… Communication ? : We saw the STD booth boom in the country….. is that significant ? Or is it mobile technology ? Are we the typical sms generation ? Liberalization ?: Certainly, we witnessed the birth of McD and the re-birth of Coke in India…. Reebok and Ford….. Is this significant ? The Y2K demand ? Coalition Governments ? Our youth witnessed the end of single majority parties and the birth of coalition politics….. the shape of things to come and stay….. Private TV channels ? MTV ? The Bold and the Beautiful ? Quick Gun Murugan ? Cyrus Broacha ? Or is it Giant Robot ? And where does Doordarshan fit in all this? The end of Angry Amitabh and the entry of sugary Shah Rukh ? Or is it a combination of all these ?

I thought it might be fun to share ‘growing up’ with others who grew up elsewhere in the country at the same time……… I do not want to get into a stricter definition of age limits… is too traumatic for me 🙂 The idea being : 1. to understand the events, ideas, values that have shaped my generation (mid-70’s born, the over-20, 30 ish) 2. to experiment with the possibility of blogs as a tool for primary research….. blogs as a tool for expression, blogs as a tool for lobbying….. and now this? Personally, I would consider this data more credible because participation is voluntary and not coerced or coaxed as in case of conventional research… This is going to be a sticky post for some time. Do leave your thoughts and spread the word around – hoping to see something interesting come out of this…

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