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What does being an adult mean?: Comparing young people's and adults' representations of adulthood
Department of Sociology and Business Law, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6270-501X
2017 (English)In: Journal of Youth Studies, ISSN 1367-6261, E-ISSN 1469-9680, Vol. 20, no 9, 1225-1241 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article aims at exploring the representations young people and adults attribute to the concept of adulthood in order to analyse the effects these ideas have on their reciprocal perception and recognition. In so doing, it draws upon data collected through a grounded theory study, which has been conducted in Italy involving young people and adults in semi-structured qualitative interviews. Data show that an outdated traditional model is still used by both the samples to determine who is an adult and when the adult status is acquired without discussing its validity in front of a changed social scenario. An evaluative function is added to traditional transitional markers of adulthood, which are used by both young people and adults to accuse each other of being not mature enough'. A discrepancy between the shared ideal representations of adulthood and the actual possibility the two generations have to meet those social expectations in their lives emerge. The implications of these results for youth transitions to adulthood are discussed in the light of the high level of intergenerational inequality characterising the Italian context.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge, 2017. Vol. 20, no 9, 1225-1241 p.
Keyword [en]
Young people, intergenerational relationships, adulthood, transitions to adulthood, generations, social representations, Italy
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-61161DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2017.1317336ISI: 000410841600008Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85018477546OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-61161DiVA: diva2:1144682
Available from: 2017-09-27 Created: 2017-09-27 Last updated: 2017-09-27Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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  • de-DE
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  • Other locale
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Output format
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