Inventing Adulthoods : A Biographical Approach to Youth Transitions, Paperback

Inventing Adulthoods : A Biographical Approach to Youth Transitions Paperback

Part of the Published in Association with the Open University series

2.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


'The series Youth: Perspectives and Practice provides a distinctive and rare combination of expert commentary, new research, original theorising and critical reflection on how we should understand youth and work with young people.

These books deserve a wide readership ! the way they are written and organised will make them particularly appealing to students' - Professor Robert MacDonald, University of Teesside Inventing Adulthoods offers a ground-breaking new perspective on young peoples' experiences of growing up at the turn of the 21st century, arguing that a biographical approach is vital to understanding the holistic and dynamic character of their lives.

Based on a study of a diverse group of young people over a 10 year period, the book explores high profile policy issues: education, employment, drugs, cultures of violence and well-being.

It also considers the significance of those things that mean most to young people themselves: mobility, home, belonging, intimacy and social life.The book is written in a lively and engaging style and, through case studies and interviews, examines: " the impact that social factors such as gender, class, sexuality, religion, disability and family have on life opportunities; and " connections between young people's lives, social policy frameworks and practice applications. Inventing Adulthoods is an invaluable resource to anyone interested in the lives of young people.

Thought-provoking yet accessible, this book is ideal for students in youth studies and education, as it is for youth workers, social workers and other practitioners.

Inventing Adulthoods is the set book for the Open University course Youth: Perspectives and Practice (KE308).

Sheila Henderson is a Visiting Fellow at London South Bank University.

Janet Holland is Professor of Social Research and Co-director of the Families and Social Capital ESRC Research Group at London South Bank University.

Sheena McGrellis is a Senior Research Fellow in the Families Group, but is based at University of Ulster.

Sue Sharpe is a Visiting Fellow at London South Bank University.Rachel Thomson is Professor of Social Research in the Faculty of Health and Social Care at The Open University.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 208 pages
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Age groups: adolescents
  • ISBN: 9781412930697



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This book draws on three consecutive studies conducted in the UK from 1996-2006, interviewing a number of young adults multiple times over a 10 year period, and following their transitions from school into adulthood. The book talks about domains relevant to policy debates and ‘moral panics’ (e.g., education, employment, drugs and alcohol, crime), as well as domains that emerged as particularly relevant to the young people themselves (e.g., mobility, belonging, home, intimacy and sociality – including new Information and Communication Technologies). This is fascinating subject matter and really interesting reading. I felt at times, however, that the book’s (perhaps necessary) breadth meant sacrificing some of the richness and depth that I had been hoping to find here. And yet I’m not sure what could have been done differently.

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