Irina V. Starodubrovskaya

Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy, Moscow, Russia

Articles. Research
The article is devoted to the analysis of the role of intergenerational relations and intergenerational conflict in social transformation. The example of the Northern Caucasus is used for this research. The analysis is built on the separation of the two forms of intergenerational conflict: conflict based on the life cycle stages and conflict based on the generation gap. The latter is especially important for understanding the mechanisms of social transformation. The article demonstrates that a generation gap can either lead to the evolution of intergenerational relations—and the step-by-step emancipation of the youth—or generate acute intergenerational conflict. The conflict intervenes in the dynamic of intergenerational relations, mostly in the situation of rapid social transformation, ideological pluralism and the youth’s protest potential. For the youth, radical ideologies act as pillars against existing norms and the superiority of elders that was implanted during the early process of socialization. In the Northern Caucasus, Islamic fundamentalism had played the role of such an ideology. It was the language and the way of legitimation of intergenerational conflict. It denied
the undoubted value of relying on the ancestral experience and considered the authority of knowledge as more important than the authority of ages. This mechanism of intergenerational conflict questioned the very basis of
traditional culture. On the one hand, it widened the possibilities for the youth’s adaptation to the new conditions, contributed to the development of individualism and critical thinking. However, on the other hand, intergenerational
conflict in such forms led to youth radicalization and the spread of violent practices.
Keywords: intergenerational relations, intergenerational conflict, social transformation, radical ideologies, Islamic fundamentalism, the Northern Caucasus