Book

Unfolding lives

Rachel Thomson

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9781847420510
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304104 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847420510.001.0001
Unfolding lives

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The process of becoming an adult in contemporary times is fragmented and unequal, shaped by chance, choice and timing. This book presents a unique approach to understanding the changing face of youth transitions, addressing the question of how gender identities are constituted in late modern culture. It follows individual lives over time, enabling the reader to witness gender identities in the making and breathing new life into static analytic models. At the heart of the book are vivid in-depth accounts of four young lives, emblematic of broader biographical trends. These accounts reveal how inequalities and privileges are made in new and unexpected ways, through practices such as falling in love, coming out, acting out, and religious conversion. A focus on temporal processes and changing meanings captures what it feels like to be young, and shows the creative ways in which young people navigate the conflicting and changing demands of personal relationships, schooling, work, and play. The book is also a demonstration of a method-in-practice, describing how longitudinal material can be analysed and animated to realise the relationship between personal and social change.

Keywords: youth transitions; gender identities; inequalities; privileges; personal relationships; schooling; work; play; social change

Book.  208 pages. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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