Generation X

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Generation X, commonly abbreviated to Gen X, is the generation born after the Western post-World War II baby boom ended. [1] While there is no universally agreed upon time frame, [2] the term generally includes people born in the 1960s and 70s, ending in the late 1970s to early 80s, usually not later than 1982.[3][4][5] The term had also been used in different times and places for various different subcultures or countercultures since the 1950s.[6]



The term Generation X was coined by the Magnum photographer Robert Capa in the early 1950s. He would use it later as a title for a photo-essay about young men and women growing up immediately after the Second World War. The project first appeared in "Picture Post" (UK) and "Holiday" (USA) in 1953. Describing his intention, Capa said 'We named this unknown generation, The Generation X, and even in our first enthusiasm we realised that we had something far bigger than our talents and pockets could cope with'.[7] Author John Ulrich explains that, "Since then, "Generation X" has always signified a group of young people, seemingly without identity, who face an uncertain, ill-defined (and perhaps hostile) future. Subsequent appearances of the term in the mid-1960s and mid-1970s narrowed the referent for "Generation X" from Capa's global generation to specific sets of primarily white, male, working class British youth sub-cultures, from the spiffy mods and their rivals the rockers, to the more overtly negationist punk subculture." [6]

The term was used in a 1964 study of British youth by Jane Deverson. Deverson was asked by Woman's Own magazine to interview teenagers of the time. The study revealed a generation of teenagers who "sleep together before they are married, were not taught to believe in God as 'much', dislike the Queen, and don't respect parents." Because of these controversial findings, the piece was deemed unsuitable for the magazine. Deverson, in an attempt to save her research, worked with Hollywood correspondent Charles Hamblett to create a book about the study. Hamblett decided to name it Generation X.[8]

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