This accessible book takes a fresh and original approach to the concept of youth, placing changes in the social construction of ‘youth’ within a more general story of the rise and fall of grand theory in social science. Gill Jones evaluates the current relevance of these wider social theories to understanding youth in late modernity in the light of key examples of empirical work on young people. Individual chapters are organized around the themes of action, identity, transition, inequality and dependence – conceptual themes which cross-cut young people’s lives. The book considers the validity of youth as a social concept and examines ways of identifying what is specific to young people without resorting to seeing them as a homogeneous group defined by their age; in so doing, it uncovers notions which are erroneously attributed to young people.
Youth represents a thought-provoking challenge to a new generation of social science students, youth researchers and practitioners to distance themselves from the politically- and emotively-charged issue of youth in contemporary society and move further towards re-theorizing the concept of youth in ways which are relevant to young people’s lives today.