This accessible book takes a fresh and original approach to the concept of youth, placing changes in the social construction of ‘youth’ within a more general story of the rise and fall of grand theory in social science. Gill Jones evaluates the current relevance of these wider social theories to understanding youth in late modernity in the light of key examples of empirical work on young people. Individual chapters are organized around the themes of action, identity, transition, inequality and dependence – conceptual themes which cross-cut young people’s lives. The book considers the validity of youth as a social concept and examines ways of identifying what is specific to young people without resorting to seeing them as a homogeneous group defined by their age; in so doing, it uncovers notions which are erroneously attributed to young people.
Youth represents a thought-provoking challenge to a new generation of social science students, youth researchers and practitioners to distance themselves from the politically and emotively charged issue of youth in contemporary society and move further towards re-theorizing the concept of youth in ways which are relevant to young people’s lives today.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1 What is Youth?
- Chapter 2 Youth as Action
- Chapter 3 Youth as Identity
- Chapter 4 Youth as Transition
- Chapter 5 Youth and Inequality
- Chapter 6 Youth and Dependence
- Chapter 7 Youth in Society
“In the latest of what has been a series of path-breaking discussions of the subject, Gill Jones cuts through the complexity of ‘youth’ to give an easily accessible account of the evolving theories in the field and the evidence that can be marshalled in support of each of them. The breadth of her scholarship draws upon the wider framework of globalization, and social, demographic and cultural upheavals in the context of young people’s lives.”
— John Bynner, Institute of Education, University of London
“Jones has written a much-needed book that will help take the burgeoning field of youth studies to a more mature and intellectually stimulating level. Her book will become the text to use in advanced courses where students and teachers co-construct the various issues and debates that have emerged as academics have attempted to come to grips with the thorny issues inherent in understanding the nature of youth in changing societies.”
—James Côté, University of Western Ontario
“After over twenty years of empirical research and thoughtful analysis on the subject of this book, Professor Jones has distilled her considerable experience into an authoritative text that will help countless students to write their essays and, I suspect, many of their teachers to prepare their lectures. Gill Jones has established herself as the doyenne of the sociology of youth.”
—Ray Pahl, University of Essex