By Nancy Lesko

Are our present methods of speaking approximately "the challenge of formative years" particularly that assorted than these of prior generations? For the previous decade, Act Your Age! has supplied a provocative and now vintage research of the authorized methods of viewing young people. by means of applying a groundbreaking "history of the current" method that resists conventional chronology, writer Nancy Lesko analyzes either old and current social and political elements that produce the presumed "natural adolescent." This ensuing seminal paintings within the box of adlescent research forces readers to reconsider the dominant interpretations at the social development of formative years from the nineteenth century during the current day.
This re-creation is up-to-date all through and encompasses a complete new bankruptcy on 1950s-era assumptions approximately formative years and the corresponding connections to young people this day. As in all chapters, Lesko offers cautious exam of the troubles of nationalism, sexuality, and social order when it comes to how they're projected onto the definitions of teenagers within the media, in colleges, and in the house.

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Extra info for Act Your Age! A Cultural Construction of Adolescence

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This chapter has offered an overview of the contexts in which adolescence came to be defined as a social problem as well as a social resource. Both as problem and possibility, adolescence was racialized, gendered, and nationalized. The active identification, diagnosis, and segregation of degenerate groups was coupled with equally active constructions of progress and civilized people, and through respectability the middle classes established themselves as superior. Sexual restraint, self-control, productive use of human energy, and traditional gender roles were valorized and came to define proper adolescence; thus adolescence was an active part of class, racial, and gender conflicts over what and who could count as mature, responsible, and powerful.

Women and girls were drawn into the public world via institutions of reform, education, and philanthropy, although science amassed further evidence of their inferiority. The problems of bringing along the next generation of girls and boys to face still-to-be-defined challenges in the future 26 Up and Down the Great Chain of Being was one of the paths by which scientists and reformers became united in a focus on adolescence. Boys facing the future alone became the central work of scientific reformers who labored in psychology and education as well as in organizations such as the YMCA, Boy Scouts, and the juvenile justice system.

However, as the White City demonstrated, “civilization,” that moral, political, and national state toward which “we” moved, was defined as the exclusive domain of white men. ’ Human races were assumed to evolve from simple savagery, through violent barbarism, to advanced and valuable civilization. ”6 Gender, too was an essential component of civilization, and advanced races clearly identified the sexes. 3 The Great Chain of Being figured as a tree. Haeckel’s tree (1874) reprinted from Stephen Jay Gould, Ontogeny and Phylogeny, 1977, Belknap Press.

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Act Your Age! A Cultural Construction of Adolescence by Nancy Lesko
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