Generationism is the belief that a specific generation has inherent traits which may be labeled inferior or superior to the traits of another generation. The term is usually applied to claims of superiority in the expressed values, valuations, lifestyles and general beliefs of one generation compared to those of another, where objectively verifiable criteria substantiating the claim of superiority in themselves are lacking.
Generationism is most commonly used as an accusation against the belief that the contemporary generation in itself is inherently superior to previous generations, for example through the common practice of pejoratively referring to ancient cultures as "primitive" - not to be confused with the positive label of primitivism - although an older generation's opposition to the values and lifestyles of a younger generation may also popularly be referred to as generationist.
Generationism as a recurring sociological phenomenon has been studied in detail by the Swedish philosophers Alexander Bard and Jan Söderqvist in their work "The Global Empire" (published in Swedish in 2003). Bard and Söderqvist regard generationism as a close but far less frequently analyzed relative of racism which they propose should be studied in more detail to strengthen the general argumentation for relativism and pragmatism in contemporary philosophy.
- Bard, Alexander; Söderqvist, Jan (2002). Det globala imperiet: informationsålderns politiska filosofi [The Global Empire] (in Swedish). Stockholm: Bonnier Fakta. ISBN 91-85015-03-2.; reviewed in Ingdahl, Waldemar (2003). "Informationsålderns politiska filosofi" [Political Philosophy of the Information Age]. Svensk Tidskrift (in Swedish). Stockholm: Nordstedts Tryckeri (2). ISSN 0039-677X. OCLC 1586291. Archived from the original on 12 January 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2010. (This is a book review of Bard & Söderqvist, Det globala imperiet, 2002, ISBN 91-85015-03-2); bibliographic entries at LIBRIS No. 8814548 (WebCite 12 January 2010) and librarything.com (WebCite 12 January 2010)