my generation

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By FRANCISCO DE OLIVEIRA BARROS JUNIOR*

The teacher proposes a set of questions with the aim of building a broad and complex view of the new generations, represented by the students who participate in the disciplines

Reflecting on the concept of generation, based on musical and filmic texts, is a methodological proposal to be developed. In the classroom, from elementary to higher education, teachers experience intergenerational relationships. In the exposition of a content, entitled “Intergeracionando”, the teacher proposes a set of questions with the aim of building a broad and complex view of the new generations, represented by the students who participate in our disciplines.

We are in the university field where the professor will project images and questions on a screen to be thought about. A dialogical methodology, open to give voice to students who are, on average, 20 years old. Below are photographs of well-known names from the national and international artistic universe. Each image is accompanied by a question mark.

Let’s follow the exhibition’s script: With the Beatles, I ask: “to which generation do I belong?” We are in the year 2023, in paradoxical, ambivalent and uncertain times. Progress and regression. In disquiet, we propose an exercise of historical contextualization of the society in which today's youth live. Young people living at risk, connected in networks, in the consumerist culture of commodified relationships. Companions of advances and setbacks, they make history, come from different tribes and represent diversity.

With the Rolling Stones, the following question arises: “What are the characteristics of my generation?” Youth sociability finds new paradigms in the digital spaces occupied by young people. Armed with electronic devices, in Telonic society, they browse social networks and build their citizenship in political movements online. Youth social movements agitate the political scenario in a cyberactivism practiced in the “network society”. In the “information age”, there are southern and northern winds of social change in which articulate minds contest power.

Contestation attitudes in a historical context of democratic reinvention practiced by a youth that lives “a revolution made possible by the internet”. “Indignation and hope” in a transformed world, of political reforms and the emergence of a technologized pattern in the way of promoting insurrections and revolutionary discourses (CASTELLS, 2013). In the collective, indignant and hopeful people wield the banner with a message in the plural: “we are the social network”.

With Roberto Carlos, I ask: “What advances and setbacks accompany my generation?” Progress and regression in a context of ambivalences and paradoxes. Population longevity and high crime rates. Uplifting and gloomy news. New barbarisms and robotics present in the society of the spectacle. Artificial intelligence and poverty give news stories. Medieval fears are reactualized. Covid-19 performed a striptease revealing our vulnerabilities and risks. How do we live now?

A young woman of 20, nowadays, lives in paradoxical societies. The Brazils are exemplary. A country of excluded people enjoying the viralizations of celebrities in their pornographic displays. “The internet galaxy” coexists with precarious social welfare states. The question asked before requires an exercise in historical context. Show the multiple faces of globalization, parasitic capitalism and neoliberalism. What are its human consequences? Electronic business and economy in millionaire movements and social exclusion frames running in parallel.

In “life for consumption” and “on credit”, “today's young generation” knows “a society of consumers”. In social networks, youth is virgin territory to be conquered and exploited “by the advance of consumerist troops”. “The youth as a garbage can of the consumer industry”. A consumerist and “agorist” culture. Restless “and in perpetual change”, young people enter the “cult of novelty”. In times of excess and disposability, they participate in the “astonishing speed of new objects arriving and old ones leaving”. In the ephemeral empire, in their internet enjoyments, youth navigate virtual purchases and provoke curiosity: how many hours a day do they spend with smartphones, computers, different screens and other electronic instruments? (BAUMAN, 2013, p.34).

With Gilberto Gil, I ask: “What are the values ​​that guide my generation?” What matrices do they come from? Are they being inverted? In focus, the principles that guide our existence in a market society, competitive and violent. In necropolitical terms, unfair, cruel and other inhuman adjectives. A field of conflicts. What is valued in capitalist relations? Has our thinking been critical in relation to the dehumanizing actions observed in everyday life? The commodification of all relationships exposes men transformed into commodities.

All fields, highlighting health, education, religion and other spheres, are crossed by market logic, objective, calculating and focused on maximum profitability. Numbers, amount of viralizations, box office sales and numerical audience are priority criteria. The quality of what is produced and promoted is below objective number one: to sell. In terms more in tune with the current times, go viral. Police news, gossip and ti ti tis involving celebrities, in particular, go viral and generate millionaire businesses.

Glamour, ostentations to the sound of funk, partying and massacres. “The civilization of the spectacle”, its opiates, tragedies and frivolities. Rear windows. Exposure of intimacy and personal privacy ignore the boundaries between public and private. “I am seen, therefore I am”. Show up anyway. The eyes of power and its attendants. Shall we read “1984” by George Orwell? On the screens, the “big brother” sees the “vale-tudo” game, the team that “takes anything for money”.

*Francisco de Oliveira Barros Junior Professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the Federal University of Piauí (UFPI).

Reference


BAUMAN, Zygmunt. About education and youth: conversations with Riccardo Mazzeo. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2013 (https://amzn.to/3OUEk71).

CASTELLS, Manuel. Networks of Indignation and Hope: Social Movements in the Internet Age. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2013 (https://amzn.to/3ONHiu1).


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