Just what is a generation? And why, if at all, does it matter? This book asks what generation means to ordinary people, arguing that generation is real and it matters, but not in the ways that we think. Generations are not groups of people who can be categorized and attributed with static, immutable and universal characteristics, nor are they reducible to cohorts, as is the tendency in much social research. Rather, the book reveals generation to be a social phenomenon and a mechanism of social change - as a constellation of ideas and discourses that explains what happens when ideas and ideals collide, and why some discourses flourish and take hold at particular times.