Generation X in Iceland
"Generations in Iceland?"
"In Icelandic, the word "kynslóðin" ("generation") is used less to label the social and cultural characteristics of an entire cohort than to identify styles or waves in popular culture. During the 1990s the media briefly toyed with the term "X-kynslóðin"—"Generation X"—but now the term survives only in sporadic applications of American generation-based business models of consumer and workplace behavior. Nonetheless, one can infer cultural trends separating those born after the mid-1960s from the preceding 68-kynslóðin, or '68 Generation, that came of age amidst the country's rapid post-war entry into modernity (1965: population of 190,652; 2011: population of 319,090). Iceland never had a "baby boom" as such: having never had a military, the country was neutral during WW II and had no post-war, de-mob population rise. Instead, the 68-kynslóðin rode the rising expectations of post-war economic expansion in the fisheries boosted by Marshall Aid, national independence from Denmark achieved in 1944, and the diffusion of American popular culture together with a rising Icelandic urban youth culture. Unlike their more impoverished parents who as children typically played with sheep bones, many 68-kynslóðin grew up with store-bought toys as consumer products became more available. This generation witnessed the completion of rural electrification, mechanization of farming, and harbor developments intent on slowing the rapid pace of rural-urban movement to the capital city, Reykjavík. They came of age just as the herring stocks collapsed in 1969, ushering in more than a decade of high inflation yet, despite an at-times erratic economy, full employment and rising living standards were the norm for all youth up until the 2008 banking crisis. Members of the 68-kynslóðin were more likely to have been born in the countryside and/or spent summers working on family farms or in fish-freezing plants, a practice that faded as urban values increasingly prevailed. Yet they were also the generation first subsidized to pursue higher education abroad and who picked up jammed radio and TV signals from the U.S.-run NATO base southwest of Reykjavík to access an international world of sound and image. The young political left protested against that base—they considered it a foreign occupation—and by extension against the war in Vietnam. Feminist and trade union activism added to the era's cultural politics of gender, class, and assertion of national independence."
~ Anne Brydon, Excerpt from Generation X Goes Global
101 Reykjavík (2000)
Directed by Baltasar Kormákur. Written by Hallgrímur Helgason and Baltasar Kormákur. Starring Hilmir Snaer Gudnason, Victorial Abril and Hanna María Karlsdóttir
Anne Brydon. Associate professor at Wilfrid Laurier University (Canada). Her Iceland-based ethnographic research concerns the cultural legacies of modernity, with focus on visual art and the cultural politics of nature and the environment. Recent publications include "Sentience" in Lund and Benediktsson's Conversations with Landscape, and the co-authored "Mourning Mothers and Seeing Siblings: Feminism and Place in The Juniper Tree" in Greenhill and Matrix'sFairy Tale Film and Cinematic Folklore: Fantastic Voyages, Monstrous Dreams, and Wonderful Visions, about the film that marks Björk's cinematic debut.
Please suggest added material or comments on Iceland's Generation X to be posted on this site: