Young People in Transition: Becoming Citizens? An Introduction

  • Christopher Pole
  • Jane Pilcher
  • John Williams


Located somewhere between childhood and adulthood, ‘youth’ has traditionally been conceptualized as a transitional life-course stage. Whilst childhood is characterized by dependency, and adulthood by independence, youth may be seen to occupy an ambiguous middle ground between the two stages in which the young person seeks to shake off the protective and prohibitive restraints of the former by moving towards full social participation, which is often characteristic of the latter (Pilcher, 1995). For Dean (1997), it is this period of transition that marks youth as a ‘dangerous age’ in which there is the potential to challenge much of the stability and conservatism of childhood which precedes it, before settling into an established and privileged status of adult. This dominance of adulthood over other life-course stages is closely associated with the benefits of autonomy and independence that participation in paid work can bring, and with membership of society as a full citizen: it bestows not only responsibilities, but also rights, on the individual.


Young People Social Exclusion Social Participation Citizenship Education Moral Panic 
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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Pole
  • Jane Pilcher
  • John Williams

There are no affiliations available

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