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The Making of a Generation

The Making of a Generation: The Children of the 1970s in Adulthood

Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 304
  • Book Info
    The Making of a Generation
    Book Description:

    Drawing on studies that have recorded the lives of young people in two countries for over fifteen years,The Making of a Generationoffers unique insight into the hopes, dreams, and trajectories of a generation.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9983-0
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-18)

    In this book we seek to provide answers to the overarching question ‘of how a generation is made.’ The formation of a generation is a multifaceted process that occurs over time and depends on the interplay of given characteristics of individuals and the demographic, economic, social, and cultural contexts through which they pass. The evolving sets of policies, practices, and institutional changes to which members of a given generation are exposed influence the shaping of that generation. This occurs through a dialectical dynamic process that involves changes over time. Members of a generation age, have relationships, get married, have children,...

  5. 2 Concepts and Theories: Understanding Generation and Change
    (pp. 19-41)

    This chapter provides an overview of the key concepts and debates that inform our comparative analysis of the lives of young Canadians and Australians during the 1990s. In making sense of their experiences and perspectives, the pathways they have navigated, and the patterns of life they have established, we draw on conceptual ideas from the fields of higher education and youth studies. The field of higher education (including educational policy) provides insights into, among other things, the ways in which structural processes shape outcomes and produce patterns. The field of youth studies provides a perspective on the ways in which...

  6. 3 Shaping Generational Change through Policy
    (pp. 42-65)

    In the 1980s the educational and labour-market policy literature in the Western world was rife with warnings and dire predictions regarding the educational practices and related occupational fates of current and future generations of young adults. It was widely acknowledged that advanced industrial countries were undergoing a radical transformation from an industrial society to a society characterized by economic globalization, that the labour force was shifting from the goods-producing sector to the service sector, and that there was a rapid diffusion of technology into the workplace. The impact of these interrelated factors on the transformation of the labour market was...

  7. 4 Hopes and Dreams
    (pp. 66-93)

    The policy frameworks described in the previous chapter had a direct impact on the young people in our studies. They were the first generation for whom it was normative to extend education beyond the secondary level, and in one sense they were the pioneers of the new mass education sector of post-secondary education. Those members who invested in their education were positioned by policies as the hope for the prosperity of their respective nations. They were to play a key role in enabling knowledge to become a crucial resource as well as a commodity and an industry. Their participation in...

  8. 5 Education: Changing Structures and Changing Opportunities
    (pp. 94-127)

    In this chapter we focus on young people’s pathways through post-secondary education by comparing their experiences in the context of the secondary and post-secondary systems of British Columbia and Victoria. Within the changing policy and economic contexts that we outlined earlier we trace the educational trajectories of these young people and reveal how individuals’ choices and options are directly affected by the distinctive educational structures of each country and by other forces, including economic climate and family background. At the same time we show how individuals shape their own lives within these structures and contexts. This chapter shows the direct...

  9. 6 Gaining a Foothold in the World of Work
    (pp. 128-158)

    The relationship of our participants to the labour market and their attitudes to work have become a defining feature of their generation. In chapter 3 we highlighted the policy discourse since the 1980s on the changing nature of work. The authors of those policy documents advanced compelling arguments that individuals as workers and citizens require sophisticated skill sets for an increasingly knowledge-based society. Recently, Mills and Blossfeld (2003) echoed the sentiment that over the past several decades the transition to adulthood for young people in industrialized nations has changed dramatically. They account for this change by ‘globalization, via (1) the...

  10. 7 Relationships and Family
    (pp. 159-189)

    The shift in patterns of household formation, marriage, and childbearing between this generation and their parents’ has often been noted, but the implications for family and personal life have been relatively unexplored. In this chapter we examine several dimensions of the significance of new patterns of living for the nature and meaning of relationships.

    Although there has been relatively little empirical exploration of new patterns of intimate and social relationships among this generation, social theorists have argued that these patterns are one of the most significant aspects of social change. The individualization thesis, for example (Beck and Beck-Gernsheim 2002), has...

  11. 8 Health and Well-Being: Achieving a Balance in Life
    (pp. 190-225)

    In previous chapters we discussed the ways in which members of this generation have responded to and shaped the circumstances of their lives. Here we explore their health and well-being as both an outcome of and a contributing factor to these elements, drawing out the relevance and meaning of health and well-being for their generation. Their comments reveal a tendency to see well-being as an individual choice, something for which they are responsible and yet something that is difficult for many to achieve in their busy lives as they juggle multiple responsibilities across many life spheres: employment (often two or...

  12. 9 Implications: Generation and Inequality
    (pp. 226-244)

    In this chapter we reflect on the implications of the evidence we have presented thus far. Social science too can benefit from stepping back into our thinking from another direction. Social scientists sometimes know ‘the moves’ of their practice too well, and this can result in ‘interpret[ing] reality and world views based on past experiences’ (Inglehart 1990, 422). Our approach to making meaning of the patterns within our data and the narratives and attitudes of the young people is to open up new lines of questioning. We have attempted to avoid making young people’s lives ‘more real, more orderly and...

  13. Appendix A
    (pp. 245-250)
  14. References
    (pp. 251-266)
  15. Index
    (pp. 267-271)