I just read this very interesting article about generations from the Society for American Archaeology. The author, Lawrence E. Moore does an excellent job of describing Generation X (born 1961-1981) role in society at this time. It provides a great overview of the generational cycles and the specifics of Generation X. I also like the “mythical characters” table – a fun way to describe the archetypes.
This paragraph is particularly instructive:
Reactives [Generation X] are best understood as Nomads and Commanders with keen analytical, management, and writing skills. Nomads wander geography, but also the mind, the soul, and the heart. As they have no cultural agenda other than survival they are not wedded to any theory or methodology. Nomads will pursue concepts that are productive toward planned goals; they will even abandon useful concepts in the desire to experiment with others.
Previous reactive scientists include biologists Alfred Wallace, Thomas Huxley, Julian Huxley, and Francis Galton, economists Friedrich Hayek and Karl Polanyi, and geographer Carl Sauer. There is nothing wrong with being classified with these thinkers even as some of them pursued concepts that are generally unacceptable today (Social Darwinism, eugenics). More than other generations, nomads explore all corners of life, its wonderful pleasures (Mae West) and its darkest powers (Adolf Hitler).