Civic intergenerationality is an approach to civic learning grounded in coming together across the life span to create a social and political reality that supports people of all ages. It operates under the assumption that all people are assets to our community, are capable of civic learning, and would benefit from it. By embracing the practice of civic intergenerationality, we can address America’s ongoing civic crisis. We can create a community of lifelong, reciprocal learners that uplifts our youngest civic agents while leveraging the experiences and wisdom of older generations.
To begin to map the promise of civic intergenerationality, this paper first looks at the differences in how generations approach social and political life, including the issues they care about and civic tactics they engage in. The next section outlines three theoretical frameworks for conceptualizing the learning that takes place through civic intergenerationality: direction of learning, type of relationship, and learning outcome. Within each, certain models offer particularly effective forms of civic intergenerationality. Using these frameworks, the third section examines intergenerational learning on the issue of climate change, and the fourth section examines the particular ways this mode of learning takes place in immi- grant households. The report concludes by examining how intergenerational contact is already being used in the civic space and how families, organizations, and communities can harness its power.