Lost in Transition

Lost in Transition Cover

Lost in Transition

The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood

By Christian Smith; Kari Christoffersen; Hilary Davidson

Oxford University Press, USA, Hardcover, 9780199828029, 284pp.

Publication Date: September 1, 2011

Description
Life for emerging adults is vastly different today than it was for their counterparts even a generation ago. Young people are waiting longer to marry, to have children, and to choose a career direction. As a result, they enjoy more freedom, opportunities, and personal growth than ever before. But the transition to adulthood is also more complex, disjointed, and confusing.
In Lost in Transition, Christian Smith and his collaborators draw on 230 in-depth interviews with a broad cross-section of emerging adults (ages 18-23) to investigate the difficulties young people face today, the underlying causes of those difficulties, and the consequences both for individuals and for American society as a whole. Rampant consumer capitalism, ongoing failures in education, hyper-individualism, postmodernist moral relativism, and other aspects of American culture are all contributing to the chaotic terrain that emerging adults must cross. Smith identifies five major problems facing very many young people today: confused moral reasoning, routine intoxication, materialistic life goals, regrettable sexual experiences, and disengagement from civic and political life. The trouble does not lie only with the emerging adults or their poor individual decisions but has much deeper roots in mainstream American culture--a culture which emerging adults have largely inherited rather than created. Older adults, Smith argues, must recognize that much of the responsibility for the pain and confusion young people face lies with them. Rejecting both sky-is-falling alarmism on the one hand and complacent disregard on the other, Smith suggests the need for what he calls "realistic concern"--and a reconsideration of our cultural priorities and practices--that will help emerging adults more skillfully engage unique challenges they face.
Even-handed, engagingly written, and based on comprehensive research, Lost in Transition brings much needed attention to the darker side of the transition to adulthood.


About the Author
Christian Smith is Professor of Sociology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His books include "American Evangelicalism: Embattled and Thriving" (1998) and "Resisting Reagan: The U.S. Central America Peace Movement" (1996).



Hilary Davidson is the author of several novels of mystery and noir including "The Damage Done, The Next One to Fall, "and "Evil in All Its Disguises". Davidson won the Anthony Award for Best First Novel for "The Damage Done." The book also earned a Crimespree Award and was a finalist for the Arthur Ellis and Macavity awards. Davidson s widely acclaimed short stories have been featured in publications from "Ellery Queen" to "Thuglit", and in many anthologies. A Toronto-born travel journalist and the author of eighteen nonfiction books, she has lived in New York City since October 2001.