The Myth of the Age of Entitlement: Millennials, Austerity, and Hope

The Myth of the Age of Entitlement: Millennials, Austerity, and Hope

Weight 0.00 lbs
By James Cairns
University of Toronto Press, Higher Education Division © 2017
208 Pages
ISBN 9781442636378
Published Jul 2017
ISBN 9781442636385
Published Jul 2017

We are said to be living in the age of entitlement. Scholars and pundits declare that millennials expect special treatment, do whatever they feel like, and think they deserve to have things handed to them. In The Myth of the Age of Entitlement, Cairns peels back the layers of the entitlement myth, exposing its faults and arguing that the majority of millennials are actually disentitled, facing bleak economic prospects and potential ecological disaster. Providing insights from millennials rarely profiled in the mainstream media, Cairns redefines entitlement as a fundamental concept for realizing economic and environmental justice.

James Cairns is Associate Professor, Social and Environmental Justice, at Wilfrid Laurier University, Brantford. He is the author (with Alan Sears) of A Good Book, In Theory: Making Sense Through Inquiry (2015) and The Democratic Imagination: Envisioning Popular Power in the Twenty-First Century (2012).


1. The Age of Entitlement?
2. Democratic and Oppressive Entitlements
3. Zeroed Down: The Flexible Millennial Worker
4. Austerity U: Teaching and Resisting Disentitlement on Campus
5. Millennial Blowout: Eco-disentitlement versus Ecological Justice
6. Everything for Everybody

Appendix: A Note on Methodology

Cairns immediately grabs the reader, challenging prominent assumptions about the concept of entitlement and how it applies to millennials. [He presents] a counter-narrative that needs to become the new common sense.

Bill Fletcher Jr., former president of TransAfrica Forum, co-author of Solidarity Divided and author of "They're Bankrupting Us!" And 20 Other Myths about Unions excellent dissection of the plight of millennials that refutes slurs about their 'entitlement,' proposing instead a new sense of the word—that we deserve a society that guarantees a decent, secure life for everyone.

Doug Henwood, Left Business Observer

A deeply necessary intervention into the debate about the millennial generation. James Cairns explodes 'the myth of the age of entitlement' and urges engagement with the demands of today's young radicals. Our futures may all depend on it.

Sarah Jaffe, journalist and author of Necessary Trouble: Americans in Revolt

In this highly readable, bold study of disentitled millennials, Cairns provides a rare blend of savvy cultural analysis and rigorous research methods to explore fundamental questions about what we owe to each other and the meanings of human freedom.

Jennifer Silva, Bucknell University, author of Coming Up Short: Working-Class Adulthood in an Age of Uncertainty