Act Your Age!
A Cultural Construction of Adolescence, 2nd Edition
By Nancy Lesko
Routledge – 2012 – 248 pages
Series: Critical Social Thought
Are our current ways of talking about "the problem of adolescence" really that different than those of past generations? For the past decade, Act Your Age! has provided a provocative and now classic analysis of the accepted ways of viewing teens. By employing a groundbreaking "history of the present" methodology that resists traditional chronology, author Nancy Lesko analyzes both historical and present social and political factors that produce the presumed "natural adolescent." This resulting seminal work in the field of youth study forces readers to rethink the dominant interpretations on the social construction of adolescence from the 19th century through the present day.
This new edition is updated throughout and includes a full new chapter on 1950s-era assumptions about adolescence and the corresponding connections to teens today. As in all chapters, Lesko provides careful examination of the concerns of nationalism, sexuality, and social order in terms of how they are projected onto the definitions of adolescents in the media, in schools, and in the home.
"Lesko achieves the unusual feat of producing an utterly readable and compelling story of new perspectives on adolescence, yet one which is an impressive exemplar of new theory and sustained scholarship. The book is down to earth yet theoretically challenging. It is an exciting as well as important addition to the current array of writing about young people and turns much of that writing on its head." -- Lyn Yates, author of The Education of Girls
Acknowledgments, Series Editor’s Introduction Michael W. Apple, Introduction Troubling Teenagers 1. Up and Down the Great Chain of Being Progress and Degeneration in Children, Race, and Nation 2. Making Adolescence at the Turn of the Century Romancing and Administering Youth 3. Back to the Future Model Middle Schools Recirculate Fin-de-Siècle Ideas 4. Time Matters in Adolescence 5.Cold War Containments: Freedom, Youth, and Identity in the 1950s 6."Before Their Time" Teenage Mothers Violate the Order of Proper Development 7. Our Guys/Good Guys Playing with High School Athletic Privilege and Power 8. When the Romance Is Gone…Youth Development In New Times 9. Cutting Free from the Great Chain of Being Toward Untimely Teenagers Afterword to the Second Edition Notes References Author Index Subject Index
Nancy Lesko is Maxine Greene Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University.