Elusive Adulthoods

Elusive Adulthoods

The Anthropology of New Maturities
Edited by Deborah Durham and Jacqueline Solway
Distribution: World
Publication date: 9/13/2017
Format: paper 210 pages
6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-253-03000-9
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Elusive Adulthoods examines why, within the past decade, complaints about an inability to achieve adulthood have been heard around the world. By exploring the changing meaning of adulthood in Botswana, China, Sudan, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Sri Lanka, Uganda, and the United States, contributors to this volume pose the problem of “What is adulthood?” and examine how the field of anthropology has come to overlook this meaningful stage in its studies. Through these case studies we discover different means of recognizing the achievement of adulthood, such as through negotiated relationships with others, including grown children, and as a form of upward class mobility. We also encounter the difficulties that come from a sense of having missed full adulthood, instead jumping directly into old age in the course of rapid social change, or a reluctance to embrace the stability of adulthood and necessary subordination to job and family. In all cases, the contributors demonstrate how changing political and economic factors form the background for generational experience and understanding of adulthood, which is a major focus of concern for people around the globe as they negotiate changing ways of living.

Author Bio

Deborah Durham is Professor of Anthropology at Sweet Briar College. She is coeditor, with Jennifer Cole, of Generations and Globalization: Youth, Age, and Family in the New World Economy and Figuring the Future: Globalization and the Temporalities of Children and Youth.

Jacqueline Solway is Professor Emeritus of the International Development Studies and Anthropology Departments of Trent University of Canada. She is editor of
The Politics of Egalitarianism: Anthropological Theory and Practice.


"An important collection that furthers anthropological work on life stages." —Susan Reynolds Whyte, author of Generations in Africa: Connections and Conflicts

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Table of Contents

1. Elusive Adulthoods: Introduction / Deborah Durham
2. The Predicament of Adulthood in Botswana / Jacqueline Solway
3. Educated Youth and the Search for in Adulthood Post-war Sri Lanka / Dhana Hughes
4. Learning to Wait: Schooling and the Instability of Adulthood for Young Men in Uganda / Claire Elisabeth Dungey and Lotte Meinert
5. Adulthood and Youth in a Rapidly Urbanizing Chinese County / Andrew B. Kipnis
6. Inventing the Rules: Redefining Moral Agency amongst the First Post-Independence Generation in Papua New Guinea / Karen Sykes
7. “Just Sitting” But Not Sitting Still: Delayed Adulthood and Changing Gender Dynamics in Northern Sudan / Janice Boddy
8. Between ‘Too Young’ and ‘Already Old’: The Fleeting Adulthood of Perestroika Teens / Anna Kruglova
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