Youth, Adulthood and the NTE

  • Oliver Smith
Part of the Leisure Studies in a Global Era book series (LSGE)


Growing up, in the simplest of terms, appears to be about stability. Getting a job, settling down and having children are all seen as key markers that one has successfully made the transition from impetuous, reckless youth to dependable, self-aware adulthood. The term ‘transition’ here is key, lending its name to a swathe of literature, although over the past couple of decades, its use has become increasingly contested. Recent literature is moving away from the notion of a categorical concept of youth, acknowledging diversity and dependence on specific personal experiences of social division and inequality, rather than a staid, logical, step-by-step progression through to the ‘goal’ of adulthood. The term ‘transition to adulthood’ is, in its most basic form, misleading in that it suggests that young people make one transition to adulthood, which serves as a clearly defined destination at which they ‘arrive’. If we accept that a number of markers do exist that indicate a change in condition or status, not only is their meaning likely to be inconsistent across different groups, they are not necessarily as significant as researchers may assume, and also are not necessarily permanent (Wyn and White, 1997; Furlong and Cartmel, 2007). Leaving home, marriage and employment are all transitory and reversible, and are unsatisfactory as static milestones from which to measure an individual’s movement toward adulthood. Indeed, on closer inspection it appears that age is a less important factor in determining common and shared experiences and characteristics of youth than perhaps we would assume, suggesting that the line between youth and adulthood is increasingly blurred (see Cote, 2000; Barber, 2007; Calcutt, 1998).


Playing Video Game Culture Industry Consumer Society Youth Culture Identity Creation 
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Copyright information

© Oliver Smith 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oliver Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Plymouth UniversityUK

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