Gen Z, Explained: The Art of Living in a Digital Age (Paperback)

Gen Z, Explained: The Art of Living in a Digital Age By Roberta Katz, Sarah Ogilvie, Jane Shaw, Linda Woodhead Cover Image
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An optimistic and nuanced portrait of a generation that has much to teach us about how to live and collaborate in our digital world.

Born since the mid-1990s, members of Generation Z comprise the first generation never to know the world without the internet, and the most diverse generation yet. As Gen Z starts to emerge into adulthood and enter the workforce, what do we really know about them? And what can we learn from them? Gen Z, Explained is the authoritative portrait of this significant generation. It draws on extensive interviews that display this generation’s candor, surveys that explore their views and attitudes, and a vast database of their astonishingly inventive lexicon to build a comprehensive picture of their values, daily lives, and outlook. Gen Z emerges here as an extraordinarily thoughtful, promising, and perceptive generation that is sounding a warning to their elders about the world around them—a warning of a complexity and depth the “OK Boomer” phenomenon can only suggest.

Much of the existing literature about Gen Z has been highly judgmental. In contrast, this book provides a deep and nuanced understanding of a generation facing a future of enormous challenges, from climate change to civil unrest. What’s more, they are facing this future head-on, relying on themselves and their peers to work collaboratively to solve these problems. As Gen Z, Explained shows, this group of young people is as compassionate and imaginative as any that has come before, and understanding the way they tackle problems may enable us to envision new kinds of solutions. This portrait of Gen Z is ultimately an optimistic one, suggesting they have something to teach all of us about how to live and thrive in this digital world.

About the Author

Roberta Katz is an anthropologist at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University. 

Sarah Ogilvie is a linguist at the University of Oxford. 

Jane Shaw is a historian at the University of Oxford. 

Linda Woodhead is a sociologist at Lancaster University.

Praise For…

"This study provides penetrating insight into how American and UK youth see the world—through their own words. By building 'appreciation for the challenges they [Gen Zers] face,' the volume encourages older readers to recognize the strengths of their progeny, particularly to appreciate the importance of navigating an increasingly digital world. No other book available brings readers into more intimate contact with Gen Z . For this reason alone it warrants a careful read."
— Arts Fuse

“A textured and rich account. . . . Drawing on the notion that ‘generation’ reflects a shared experience and attitude, not simply shared birth dates, the authors argue that Generation Z is unique and significant, as it is the first generation to have always known the internet: ‘only knowing the world with the possibility of endless information and infinite connectivity of the digital age.’ This has greatly affected how Generation Z see their lives and values, bound together by a strong sense of connections and collaboration, and can be, the authors suggest, an example to older generations of how to live.”
— Church Times

"Paints an optimistic portrait of a much misunderstood generation that has never known a world without the internet."
— Observer

"In Gen Z, Explained: The Art of Living in a Digital Age, university professors Katz, Ogilvie, Shaw, and Woodhead (hereafter KOS&W) try to understand the digital medium by studying the first generation—mine—never to know life without the internet."
— First Things

"Katz et al point out that Gen Zers have had to navigate the new online reality without the guidance of their elders, and have created rich and hard-to-penetrate subcultures. What they mostly like to do, the book argues, is to collaborate in leaderless groups. They use digital tools to create shared documents, sync their calendars, write and read fan fiction, play games together. They use apps to organize lift-sharing, couch-surfing and political activism."
— London Review of Books

“This extraordinarily rich and empathetic account of Gen Z offers a groundbreaking understanding of this generation’s habits and motivations without reducing them to the sum of their posts and tweets. This work excels in unpacking the subtle ways that identity formation and presentation of self are seamlessly interwoven with digital communication for Zoomers. Parents, teachers, and anyone who cares about our future as a society should read this deeply informed contribution to the research on Gen Z.”
— Devorah Heitner, author of Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive and Survive in Their Digital World

“This book is [fire emoji] (an intimate and indispensable guide to the identities and belonging of postmillennials—and some surprising lessons for all of us).
— Richard A. Settersten, Jr., author of Living on the Edge: An American Generation’s Journey Through the Twentieth Century

Product Details
ISBN: 9780226823966
ISBN-10: 0226823962
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: October 26th, 2022
Pages: 280
Language: English