Thinking About Adulthood

Activity Description:

Related Encyclopedia Topic: Adulthood: Changing Definitions and Concepts

Purpose: To consider the different ways to theorize adulthood today, using student discussion and narratives concerning the changing markers and meanings of adulthood.


Discuss how young people think about and talk about current transitions to adulthood and adulthood itself and compare these with the transitions of the generation of their own parents.

One student to give a narrative of one young person’s trajectory into and through adulthood; the group to draw out key features of this trajectory and narrative

Another student to give a narrative of a contrasting trajectory, i.e. with few or many resources (depending upon the first example in 2); the group to draw out ways in which the two trajectories are similar and different

The group to draw out explanations for the differences and similarities

The group to reflect upon the kinds of concepts and theories for understanding adult development in current society

Activity Source:

Content contributed by Julia Brannen and Ann Nilsen as a Suggested Work and Family Class Activity