Accepted Paper:

Evental, postevental and glocal aspects of generational experience  


Katrin Ullmann (Heinrich-Heine Universität Düsseldorf)

Paper short abstract:

Based on semi-structured interviews with young adults from Western and Southeast Europe, two different forms of "post-evental" generations are compared. Furthermore, common sorrows of these young generations are studied against the background of a glocalized present.

Paper long abstract:

Based on semi-structured interviews with young adults from different countries (20-30 years old), the question to what extent a global generation exists is studied. This question is of particular interest, given that up to now generations are widely assumed to be a concept of time, but their distribution in space is often ignored.

My paper focusses on information collected in interviews with young men and women from two European regions, both experiencing particular phases of the ‚post-evental':

One group is from Western Europe. They know war only from the media or from ‚authentic' narratives of their grandparents. In their interviews war only exists as a transmitted memory, though having an impact on the present. The other group is from Southeast Europe (i.e. former Yugoslavia). Compared to the former group, "post-evental" does not only refer to the Second World War and transmitted memories, but also to own experiences made during the war in former Yugoslavia. Thus, this group experienced two political ruptures, which (as shown in the interviews) is often reflected in a desire of the apolitical, including the retreat into private life and escapist dreams of getting away.

In contrast, in the interviews with young men and women from Western European countries the political is present in terms of political utopia referring to an upcoming, better Europe as a political and corporative unit.

However, in addition to these differences, the interviews also reveal similarities regarding the experience of the present in its global connections which is profoundly glocalized.

Panel W059
Political ruptures and political subjectivities: how do young generations make sense of their world in a context of uncertainty?