Young People and Social Change: New Perspectives

Young People and Social Change: New Perspectives

Young People and Social Change: New Perspectives

Young People and Social Change: New Perspectives

Excerpt

In response to perceived major transformations, social theorists have offered forceful, appealing, but contrasting accounts of the predicament of contemporary Western societies. Key themes emerging have been condensed into terms like post-modernity, risk society, disorganized capitalism, the information society. These accounts have widespread ramifications for the analysis of many aspects of social life and personal well-being. The focus of this series is the critical appraisal of such general, substantive theories through examination of their applicability to different institutional areas of societies. Each book introduces current debates and surveys existing sociological argument and research about changing institutional arrangements.

In this second edition of their acclaimed Young People and Social Change, Andy Furlong and Fred Cartmel present a completely revised authoritative overview of the most recent sociological evidence about the contemporary transition to adulthood. They document some sharp and significant changes in the nature and experience of the transition which have occurred since the 1970s. As the duration of the transition has lengthened and the apparent alternative routes increased in number, the process has seemed to become more hazardous and uncertain. For the young people involved choices appear to have multiplied and the sense of responsibility for success or failure to have become even more a personal and individual matter. Yet objective constraints imposed by entrenched social structural divisions of class and gender operate much as before. The authors examine the new scenarios and old barriers operating in various spheres of social life, including education, labour markets, leisure and politics. Enriched by their own original research on youth, they describe the situation of young people while simultaneously critically evaluating influential theoretical accounts of the process of individualization associated with Beck and Giddens. A bold general thesis, supported by a wideranging review of current evidence, serves to distinguish the key elements of change and continuity.

Alan Warde . . .

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