Item Details

Social Generation as a Lens: A Qualitative Take on Generational Theory

Issue: Vol 14 No. 1 (2019)

Journal: Fieldwork in Religion

Subject Areas: Religious Studies Linguistics

DOI: 10.1558/firn.39500


This article explores the utility of generational theory in conducting and analysing qualitative interviews investigating individual religious experiences. We used generational theory in three ways: first, to select respondents; second, to select the interview method; and third, to analyse and contextualize the interviews. We interviewed six members of the Apostolic Society, a Dutch religious denomination, each belonging to a different social generation, and the interviews used life narrative techniques. In line with generational theory, experiences during their formative years were discussed as being influential on their individual (religious) experiences within the Apostolic Society; these experiences were then related to larger societal developments. Our findings suggest that generational theory offers an additional lens through which to perform and analyse qualitative research on religion, which may complement other fieldwork research methods in religion.

Author: Frederique A. Demeijer, Hijme C. Stoffels

View Full Text

References :

Apostolisch Genootschap

2019          73 locaties in het hele land (en daarbuiten). Online: (accessed on July 16, 2019).

Atkinson, Robert

2002          The life story interview. In Handbook of interview research: Context & method, edited by Jaber F. Gubrium and James A. Holstein, 121–140, Thousands Oaks: Sage Publications.

Becker, Henk A.

1992          Generaties en hun kansen. Amsterdam: Meulenhoff.

Becker, Henk A.

2008          Karl Mannheims “Problem der Generationen” - 80 Jahre

danach. Zeitschrift fur Familienforschung 20(2), 203–221.

Bowie, Fiona

2006 [2000] Anthropology of religion. In The Blackwell Companion to the Study

of Religion, edited by Robert A. Segal, 3-24. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.

Brand, Berry

2013          Nieuw licht op oude wegen. De wegen die de apostolische

beweging volgde vanaf de oorsprong (circa 1830) tot het Apostolisch Genootschap anno 2011. Delft: Uitgeverij Eburon.

Bremmer, Jan N.

2005          Van zendelingen, zuilen en zapreligie. Tweehonderd jaar

godsdienst in Nederland en het Apostolisch Genootschap. Zevende J.H. van Oosbreelezing. Delft: Uitgeverij Eburon.

Collins-Mayo, Sylvia, Bob Mayo, Sally Nash and Christopher Cocksworth

2010          The faith of generation Y. London: Church House Publishing.

Cornman, John M. and Eric R. Kingson

1996          Trends, issues, perspectives, and values for the aging of the baby boom cohorts. The Gerontologist 36(1): 15–26.

Day, Abby

2013          The problem of generalizing generation. Religion and Society:

Advances in Research 4(1): 109–124.

Foster, Karen

2013          Generation and discourse in working life stories. British Journal of

Sociology 64(2): 195–215.

Gubrium, Jaber F. and James A. Holstein

2009          Analyzing narrative reality. Thoasand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Horstmanshoff, Manfred

2011          Bewogen woorden: Klein Apostolisch woordenboek. Baarn: Het Apostolisch Genootschap.

Inglehart, Ronald

1990          Culture shift in advanced industrial society. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Jonte-Pace, Diane and Willam B. Parsons

2001          Religion and Psychology. London: Routledge.

Jureit, Ulrike and Michael Wildt

2005          Generationen: Zur Relevanz eines wissenschaftlichen Grundbegriffs. Hamburg: Hamburger Edition.

Lyons, Sean and Lisa Kuron

2014          Generational differences in the workplace: A review of the evidence and directions for future research. Journal of Organizational Behavior 35(S1): S 139–S157.

Mannheim, Karl

1952 [1927] The problem of generations. In Essays on the Sociology of

Knowledge, edited by Paul Kecskemeti, 276-322. London and New York: Routledge

Patton, Michael Q.

1990          Qualitative evaluation and research methods (2nd ed.).

Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Pilcher, Jane

1994          Mannheim’s sociology of generations: An undervalued legacy.

The British Journal of Sociology 45(3): 481-495.

Possamai, Adam

2009          Sociology of religion for generations X and Y. London:

Equinox Publishing Ltd.

Purhonen, Semi

2015          Generations on paper: Bourdieu and the critique of 'generationalism'. Social Science Information 55(1): 1–21.

Riessman, Catherine K.

2008          Narrative methods for the human sciences. Thousand Oaks:

Sage Publications.

Rubin, Herbert J. and Irene S. Rubin

2005          Qualitative interviewing: The art of hearing data (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Saldaña, Johnny

2009          The coding manual for qualitative researchers. Thousand Oaks:

Sage Publications.

Stark, Rodney and Charles Y. Glock

1968          American piety: The nature of religious commitment (Vol. 1). California: University of California Press.

Stoffels, Hijme

2006          Nieuwkomers en nazaten. Religie en Samenleving, 1(3): 1-15.

<!-- /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:"Cambria Math"; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-536870145 1107305727 0 0 415 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:roman; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:-1610611985 1073741899 0 0 159 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-unhide:no; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; margin:0cm; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman",serif; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} a:link, span.MsoHyperlink {mso-style-priority:99; color:blue; mso-themecolor:hyperlink; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed {mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; color:purple; mso-themecolor:followedhyperlink; text-decoration:underline; text-underline:single;} .MsoChpDefault {mso-style-type:export-only; mso-default-props:yes; font-family:"Cambria",serif; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"MS Mincho"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi; mso-fareast-language:EN-US;} @page WordSection1 {size:612.0pt 792.0pt; margin:70.85pt 70.85pt 70.85pt 70.85pt; mso-header-margin:35.4pt; mso-footer-margin:35.4pt; mso-paper-source:0;} div.WordSection1 {page:WordSection1;} -->