Generation X’s Middle-Age Beliefs in Pop Culture

Due Date: 05-15-2019

Contributions are sought for a new edited book that explores the way that popular culture portrays Generation-X adults as they approach middle age.

These Gen-X adults were deeply affected by cultural mores and trends when they were coming of age. What happened to those ideals and beliefs that influence them as we mature into adults? How does popular culture represent these beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors? Specifically, how have the beliefs and forces that shaped Generation Xers during their youth helped or constrained them as they take on adult challenges such as parenting, working, and being a citizen of the larger world? How are Generation Xers portrayed as middle-aged adults in popular culture, including novels, movies, and television?

Just a sampling: A mother leaning out the window about to throw her millennial son’s computer out the window because she thinks he is a addicted to gaming; another mother fighting down her agoraphobia brought on by years of not being creative after stressful events made her feel “creative block”; and a father struggling to emerge from his jealous fog of successful college friends’ triggered by his college-bound’s son’s college visits.

Sophie Kinsella’s novel Finding Audrey; Maria Semple’s novel Where’d You Go, Bernadette; and the movie Brad’s Status, starring Ben Stiller, all portray Generation-X parents caught between the beliefs that defined them as they forged their adult identities and new norms and values.

In this edited collection I will present chapters that use popular culture as a springboard to talk about how Generation X’s youth experiences color their adult life. Each chapter will also draw on applicable theory, such as generational theory, cultural studies theory, race theory, and feminist theory, to look at how the idea of generational beliefs affects Generation Xers as adults.

Chapters should include

  • a conceptualization of Generation Xers, in youth and in middle-age;
  • popular culture examples of Generation Xers in middle age, and in youth if it makes sense; and
  • cultural theory, which is drawn on in analysis of popular culture and Generation Xers.

Please send a 200-word abstract, 1–2-sentence biographical sketch, and CV by 15 May to Pam Hollander (