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Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood: A Cultural Approach, 6th Edition
Authors: by Jensen Arnett Jeffery (Author)
Help students understand how culture impacts development in adolescence and emerging adulthood
Revel™ Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood: A Cultural Approach helps students examine this dynamic and complex age period through the lens of culture. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, author Jeffrey Jensen Arnett seeks to frame not only how students understand themselves, but how they understand others and how they think about the world around them. The text is distinguished by its emphasis on the period of “emerging adulthood” (ages 18–25), a term coined by the author and a growing area of study. The Sixth Edition includes the latest data as well as fresh content that ensures an up-to-date learning experience.
Adolescence is a fascinating time of life, and for most instructors it is an enjoyable topic to teach. Many students are taking the course at a time when they have just completed adolescence. Learning about development during this period is a journey of self-discovery for them, in part. Students often enjoy reflecting back on who they were then, and they come away with a new understanding of their past and present selves. What students learn when studying about adolescence sometimes confirms their own intuitions and experiences, and sometimes contradicts or expands what they thought they knew. When
it works well, a course on adolescence can change not only how students understand themselves, but how they understand others and how they think about the world around them. For instructors, the possibility the course offers for students’ growth of understanding is often stimulating. My goal in writing this text has been to make it a source that will assist instructors and students in making illuminating connections as they pursue an understanding of this dynamic and complex age period. Now that my own children, twins Miles and Paris, are seventeen, writing this edition had a special personal relevance for me, more powerful than ever before.
I originally wrote this book with the intention of presenting a fresh conception of adolescence, a conception reflecting what I believed to be the most promising and exciting new currents in the field. With each new edition, I continue to strive for that goal. There are four essential features of the understanding that guide this book: (1) a focus on the cultural basis of development; (2) an extension of the age period covered to include “emerging adulthood” (roughly ages 18 to 25) as well as adolescence; (3) an emphasis on historical context; and (4) an interdisciplinary approach to theories and research. All of these features distinguish this text from others on adolescence.
The Cultural Approach
In teaching courses on adolescence, from large lecture classes to small seminars, I have always brought into the classroom a considerable amount of research from other cultures. I am trained mainly as a developmental psychologist, a field that has traditionally emphasized universal patterns of development rather than cultural context. However, my education also included three years as a postdoctoral student at the Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago, and the program there emphasized anthropology, which places culture first and foremost. Learning to take a cultural approach to development greatly expanded and deepened my own understanding of adolescence, and I have seen the cultural approach work this way for my students as well. Through an awareness of the diversity of cultural practices, customs, and beliefs about adolescence, we expand our conception of the range of developmental possibilities. We also gain a greater understanding of adolescent development in our own culture, by learning to see it as only one of many possible paths.
Taking a cultural approach to development means infusing discussion of every aspect of development with a cultural perspective. I present the essentials of the cultural approach in the first chapter, and then it serves as a theme that runs through every chapter. Each chapter also includes a Cultural Focus box in which an aspect of development in a specific culture is explored in depth—for example, male and female circumcision in North Africa, adolescents’ family relationships in India, and young people’s sexuality in the Netherlands.
My hope is that students will learn not only that adolescent development can be different depending on the culture, but also how to think culturally—that is, how to analyze all aspects of adolescent evelopment for their cultural basis. This includes learning how to critique research for the extent to which it does or does not take the cultural basis of development into account. I provide this kind of critique at numerous points throughout the book, with the intent that students will learn how to do it themselves by the time they finish reading.