Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Making of a Generation: The Children of the 1970s in Adulthood

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Making of a Generation: The Children of the 1970s in Adulthood

Article excerpt

Lesley Andres and Johanna Wyn, The Making of a Generation: The Children of the 1970s in Adulthood (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2010), 304 pp. Cased. $70. ISBN 978-0- 8020-9258-8. Paper. £21.50. ISBN 978-0-8020-9467-4.

This study of young people growing to adulthood in Canada and Australia follows the lives of samples of young people born in the early 1970s through a period of about 15 years from the time they leftsecondary education. Despite different theoretical starting points, the authors have worked to develop a coherent framework which locates their respondents' careers in a context of structural social and economic changes while also revealing a range of individual choices and actions. Increased access to post-secondary education has had significant consequences for the young people of this generation, but some have not had the resources to achieve success. One emergent feature is the relative educational success of young women (described as 'trailblazers'; p. 91) in response to the expansion of higher education. A contrasting trajectory is that followed by young men who have not participated in higher education and who are 'positioned over time as outsiders who feel a lack of satisfaction about what they have been able to achieve' (p. 91; emphasis in original). Changes in the labour market through the 1990s, combining the effects of structural shifts in the economy from manufacturing to service sectors with transitions towards flexibility in labour, led to difficulties for this generation in establishing their careers. The authors argue that their respondents are part of 'a generation that has borne the brunt - and some of the benefits - of economic transformation' (p. 158).

The narrative of individual development begins with respondents' aspirations and evaluations of their lives, described by the authors as 'unremarkable, even modest' (p. …

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