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A Question of Transitions: an exploration of Adolescent Developmental Theories What are the strengths and limitations of the ‘transition’ metaphor(?) for understanding young people’s pathways to adults? It is common to worry that the transition to adulthood characterized as delayed or extended in our contemporary era…
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Download file to see previous pages In the biological sense, the progression is inevitable, but casting the journey simply as an inevitable process risks obscuring to researchers the self-discovery that defines the teenage years. Children can be divided from adults by their age and status as minors rather than an assessment of their functional capacities. Adding to the delays for the onset of maturity are special restrictions created by society to protect them from either self-inflicted harm, or offenses imposed upon the young by others. Youth are routinely herded into the institutions of public education from the age of five onward, obviously to improve their life chances, or to make them ‘well-rounded’. The opportunities adults take for granted are withheld until the young are often well into their twenties; and are thus deemed suitable to join mainstream society. Much of the withholding is due to an assumption of the necessity of higher education, not to mention changing patterns in the onset of family formation, which includes the justifiable reasons for the postponement of childbirth, and marriage itself. One might wonder whether these delays are in part contributing to a frustration that encourages certain disaffected youth towards activities that make them the focus of criminal inquiry as well. The physical uprooting in terms of place and environment can be a vital ingredient towards an understanding youth transitions towards adulthood, and in the maladjustment that often develops. Sociologists must study biographical accounts, and concepts from geography, architecture, and anthropology as well, in order to advance a sociological argument for the consideration of stability and everyday registers of purpose as a way of understanding transitions. (Hall et al. 2009)This, among other root causes that may lead to unrest are worthy of study. Youth are the main focus of criminal investigations, and their more vociferous behavior can be seen as pathological, immoral, or rebellious instead of an -expression of the frustration due to age-ist power imbalances that are the normal consequence inherent in a high-tech, education-centric society. The apparent fact that the majority of criminal behavior is primarily the main province of these disaffected youth has occupied the theories of criminologists for countless decades, and will no doubt continue to be a primary focus as theorists attempt to safeguard society, and aid the young, whose crimes reflect rough-spots along the transition to adulthood. Throughout the twentieth century, psycho-medical studies triggered a cascade of positivist-assumptive research to cast youth in the role of a hapless population, where the emphasis of “scientific criminology” and “administrative criminology” was destined to become the focus (Brown, 1998). While the youth of many cultures are the fertile ground from which crime may sprout, it is far from universality. The true majority of young people who find themselves socially, and economically disadvantaged as they compete within the labor market, do not rebel with aggression against their plight, but greater numbers do seek to aspire towards mainstream ideals of stability and solvency (MacDonald, 1997). The reaction to the relative scarcity of the job market as experienced by disadvantaged youth has some tendency to reinforce not rebellion, but rather the continuity of more conventional, working-class life-styles, in much of Europe. (MacDonald, 1997) Youth ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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