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Research Time
Youth Values
Sample Maintenance
Youth Transitions

Inventing Adulthoods: Young people's strategies for transition.

April 1999 - October 2001

Funded under the ESRC Youth Citizenship and Social Change programme (L134251008), this study built on the sample and methods of the Youth Values study.


Click here to download the final report of this study.

Final Report


Objectives of the study:

  1. Building on the Youth Values study, to document young people's accounts of their own transitions to adulthood over a five-year period, in five contrasting locations of the UK.
  2. To identify 'critical moments' in the construction of adult identities and how these may be implicated in processes of social inclusion and exclusion by both opening or closing pathways to further imaginative opportunity.
  3. To explore the relationship between social structured opportunities (e.g. social class, locality, gender, 'race' and family support), the contingencies of individual biography, and broader social processes of individualisation and globalisation.
  4. To produce new bodies of data in all these areas and to develop theory and contribute to knowledge in relation to: agency and the 'reflexive project of self'; values and the construction of adult identity; the impact of globalisation on the individual.
  5. To develop innovative methods to capture young people's changing values, evolving stories of adulthood, and their reflections on processes of transition.


Research questions

  1. What accounts do young people in five different locations in the UK give of their own transition to adulthood?
  2. What are the material, social and cultural resources available to young men and women growing up in different environments and how do they affect their life trajectories?
  3. Can 'critical moments' in the construction of adulthood be identified and if so what part do they play in processes of social inclusion and exclusion?
  4. What is the relationship between socially structured opportunities, the contingencies of individual biographies and broader social processes of individualisation and globalisation?


Inventing Adulthoods







Individual Interview 3

Individual Interview 4



Case Profile Analysis

Individual Int. 2

Lifeline & Analysis

Narrative Analysis


Focus G. & Analysis

NUD*IST Analysis

Memorybook Analysis




Cross-Cut Analysis