Cold Generation Y

Cold Generation Y is a subset of Generation Y born between 1982 and 1985.

Because most definitions of Generation Y span upwards of 20 years, arguments have been made that different subsets of this generation have had distinct experiences that make it inappropriate to consider the often widest defined range (1976-2001) to really be considered a single generation.

Several scholars within the realm of sociological academia have postulated on the existence of a small but none-the-less distinct generational subset falling in the early years of Generation Y. It has been noted that those born in the years 1982-1985 exhibit certain societal and cultural traits, habits and preferences that-- while combining certain aspects of GEN X, and especially GEN Y-- render them unique in their own right. This generational partition has been occasionally referred to as the Early Y or Cold Y generation, and sometimes as "Generation Why". Notably, this theory conjects that Generation X ends in 1981, rather than one of the earlier years going back to 1976 used by some scholars.

Reasons for this partition include attitudes about technology, societal norms and, indirectly, in areas like the global political order, etc. This "Cold Y" generation was the very last to obtain cognizance or self-awareness before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War. Therefore they were the last generational segment with any memory of life during the Cold War. They were also the last to have some ideas of what life was like when the modern information based society was in its transitional/formative years, rather than the current all-pervasive and totally integrated form it had taken by the early 1990s. In other words, they were the final generation to be able to compare and contrast the late Cold War/Space Age society with the Post-Cold War/Information Age society using their own personal experiences and memories.

Consequently, one can see these characteristics manifest themselves in areas like the approach to contemporary technology. For the regular generation Y, modern information technology has always been "there", whereas Early Y grew up during the critical period of technological evolution in which the current bedrock technologies on which our info-based society relies were moved out of the technical/specialist realm and into the consumer applied realm, often when traits of each area were mixed and indistinct, giving Early Y a rather odd viewpoint that combines the outlook of the specialist/technical segment of the previous generation, though much more widely disseminated, with the integrationist outlook of the later Y generation.

In terms of political and societal outlook, some scholars argue there are also noticeable differences. Gen X has now largely had time to fall into the standard orthodoxies of political participation, and mainstream Gen Y has either done so also or (for a wide segment of it) remained or non-participatory, they argue. Early Y, on the other hand, has manifested tendencies towards a less common form of what has been termed "policy-centric pragmatism", which places a lower value, relatively speaking, on constructs like ideology or formalism. When what could be termed ideology does manifest itself, the Early Y's seem to have taken-on an unusual tendency to often look for imported belief or value systems that lie outside the scope of those normally brought into the U.S. from abroad. For instance, early 20-year-old white Americans who consider themselves followers of Eastern religions or who consider themselves to be Francophiles or connoisseurs of foreign films and cultures.

Speaking in terms of societal mores and values, some academics theorize that Early Y is in limbo between the post-Sexual Revolution norms of Gen X and the emergent ones of Gen Y (which have been described by some commentators as simply the normalization or commoditization of those of Gen X). This includes an apparent embracing of the basic outlooks of Gen X, but a reluctance to carry to their logical extremes, as we see occurring now with Gen Y. In many areas, Early Y seems to embrace the more cynical worldview exhibited by X while rejecting some of what they view as crassness or immoderation. It has been remarked that in doing so, as Early Y matures they have begun to look several generations behind X in forming certain societal/sexual constructs.
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