Generation F***ed: a talk to empower millennials
author: taylor balfour | news writer
We’re all F***ed/ jeremy davis
Sociology department’s new series targeting the “f***ed” generation
A lecture presented by the University of Regina’s sociology department aims to target millenials, discuss the issues facing their generation, and motivate them to fight for what’s best for their futures and lives.
“Millennials! Are you tired of being told you’re entitled while your generation is being f***ed?” a Facebook post from the sociology department reads. “We get it. And we want to change the conversation.”
The lecture, poignantly entitled, “Generation F***ed: Millennials and the Future” is hosted by Dr. James Cairns, a guest lecturer from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. However, Cairns received his MA in Political Science from the University of Saskatchewan.
“This is something really new,” Robert Biezenski, a sociology professor at the U of R and one of the organizers for the Cairns lecture, says.
“It’s been years and years. I don’t even remember the last time the sociology department brought in guest lecturers from outside, so we’re not totally sure we’re going to get here. It’s been a long time.”
However, despite this being a new event for the department, Biezenski says that “Generation F***ed” is a taste of something bigger.
“The talk is part of a much larger project because the sociology department has decided to make a concerted effort to appeal more to you guys, your generation, and we’re doing a number of things,” he says.
“One of the things we’re doing, we’re archiving some of our older courses and bringing in new courses designed to appeal more to you guys. Next semester I’ll be teaching Sociology of Superheros, a brand new course which I think will be quite popular.”
“Another thing we’re planning on also is film series, socially relevant films to bring in and we’re planning this series of guest lecturers, bringing in people from other universities.”
“James Cairns is the first of what we hope will be a series of lectures all focusing on millennials or, as our chair John Conway likes to call them, Generation F***ed.”
The inspiration for the series, Biezenski said, stems from multiple roots.
“On the one hand we’re hoping to raise general awareness on the issue and of course we’re promoting the sociology department,” he said.
“Enrollment keeps going up, but still, it would be nice to get more students involved in sociology, more students interested in sociology.”
Biezenski said that he hopes students are able to realize how important sociological backgrounds are for people, but especially millennials, to have.
“I think part of the problem is that a lot of people don’t see sociology as relevant to their daily lives. They see it as something abstract, something for academics to get into.”
“What we’re hoping to do is to try to negate that image to try to show that on the contrary, there’s literally nothing that is more practical than sociology because sociology teaches you about the world you live in.”
“Literally every single day you can use sociological insights. Every one of us has to be an amateur sociologist because you have to in order to operate in society, to live in society, function in society, you have to have some kind of model, some kind of understanding of society, and unfortunately for many people, that model is just plain wrong.”
In hopes of demonstrating how important sociology is, Biezenski looks to the States.
“Fifty million Americans, almost all of them working class, actually believe that putting a slightly homicidal, crazy, billionaire businessman into the White House is actually in their own best interests, even though the very first thing he did when he was elected was to introduce yet another tax cut to business, and yet more cutbacks to social programs,” he said.
“That was literally the first thing he did, which was basically make his rich friends, business friends, richer, and everybody else poorer.”
“Fifty million Americans don’t understand that putting a billionaire businessman in office means he’s going to act in the interest of businessmen, not in the interest of the average working person,” Biezenski continues. “And that, as I say, is something that sociology can teach people and that is relevant to your daily life.”
“It’s relevant when you go to vote in that ballot box to understand what politicians are really for, and it’s relevant for understanding the world you live in,” said Biezenski.
Biezenski hopes that talks such as the sociology department’s new series will help millenials feel empowered, think critically about the world they live in, and feel inspired that they are capable of making lasting change.
“I believe that we need something new,, that we need young people coming up with completely new parties, with new ideas, and I believe it will happen.”
However, he said that things will probably go downhill before they begin to improve.
“We’re due for another major economic recession or depression sometime in the next decade, one that’s probably going to be a lot worse than anything we’ve seen since the 30s,” Biezenski says.
“That, I think, will push people to the point where finally people say ‘we have to do something. We have to get organized.’”
“Once you start to get organized, you very quickly realize that organization has to be political. Anything else is trivial. Only by forming a political party, gaining office, only that way can you achieve something.”
More than anything, the sociology department’s new series hopes to force millenials to think critically about the world around them, to empower them to make change, and to help them feel as if they’re capable of making such differences.
“I really hope that people will catch onto this, that people will see this as something that’s relevant to their lives.”
Cairns’ talk is taking place on Nov. 20, at 2 p.m. in room 112 of the Classroom Building.