Who we are
Inter-Generation is a new charity established by the leading sociologist Frank Furedi to conduct research into, and promote information and discussion about, the growing field of parenting, risk and inter-generational relations. The chief executive of Inter-Generation is the journalist Jennie Bristow.
Why we exist
Parenting has become a key area of public policy and media discussion. Debates about binge drinking, child obesity, child safety and emotional well-being, among many others, firmly situate ideas about good parenting within the public eye.
Linked to this is a growing concern about the problem of adult authority, and the management of young people’s behaviour outside the home. From teenagers’ activities online to anti-social behaviour on the streets, constant media stories reflect a profound unease about adult society’s relationship with its growing-up young.
Research shows that a significant section of British adults has become totally estranged from the world of young people, in a process of disconnection and distrust that is distinct from, and far more profound than, a normal ‘generation gap’.
The aim of Inter-Generation is to make sense of this process of disconnection, and seek some positive ways to address the growing divide between adults and children in our society. The starting point of our analysis is that the problem is more complex than ‘bad parenting’, and that engaging with it requires more energetic and imaginative initiatives than those that currently tend to be offered at a policy level.
What we do
Our objectives are:
- To conduct original research into the impact of parenting culture upon inter-generational relations today, and in particular the extent to which this is informed by risk awareness and responsibility aversion. Our aim is to develop a more temperate, relaxed framework in which childrearing can be understood than is offered by much existing research. From this we hope to identify initiatives through which adult solidarity can be forged, and the normalisation of regular interaction between children and adults promoted.
- To provide information for parents (and other interested adults) about the issues that dominate the news headlines, by indicating what research exists on these questions, and how this research might be considered on its merits, or otherwise. We are concerned that much advice offered to parents about matters of everyday life (food, education, new technology, for example) takes the form of health warnings about particular products of forms of behaviour, which can be alarmist and misleading. The assumption that parents need to be provided with simplified guidance in relation to their family life has an infantilising quality: we believe that parents should be considered adult enough to assess the facts for themselves, and that there is a compelling need for a body of literature that re-presents headline issues in a sober, truly balanced way.
- To publish the results of our research, and engage in public discussion. We are concerned that discussion of parenting issues is presently dominated by advocacy groups who have a particular policy outcome in mind. We feel that engaging adults and young people, across the generations, as the subjects of this discussion is the only way to ensure that public policy can meet their needs and address their concerns. Moreover, public discussion is the precondition for genuine cultural change at the level of how generations perceive and interact with one another.