English title: Re-evaluating the concept of adulthood and the framework of transition

Author(s): Aurelie A. Mary -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2014


Are young people today prolonging their youth? The present concept of adulthood became standardised after the Second World War, when advanced societies experienced a phase of unprecedented socio-economic development. These structural conditions allowed the majority of young people to fulfil all the criteria for adulthood relatively easily. However, profound socio-economic transformations have rendered contemporary patterns of transitions incompatible with post-war transition frameworks and notions of adulthood. This study assumes that today's young people postpone entry into adulthood. Many young people in contemporary settings can no longer achieve the qualifiers associated with adulthood. But does this prevent them from reaching mental maturation? The current approach to the process of transition highlights social maturity over psychological maturity, which contributes to misinterpreting the meaning of being an adult today. Recognising the changing nature of the concept of adulthood would provide clearer understanding of the needs, expectations and coping strategies of young people. This paper reflects upon empirical material collected among female university students about to start working life in Finland and France. It sheds light on the distinctive theoretical debate on adult transitions in these two countries and on young women's perceptions on coming of age.

Volume: 17

Issue: 3

From page no: 415

To page no: 429

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2013.853872

Journal: Journal of Youth Studies

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