Published on Feb 12, 2014
IN US THEATERS – March 14th, 2014
intro via danah here:
All of this (and much more) is brilliantly documented in Jon Savage’s beautiful historical account Teenage: The Creation of Youth Culture. This book helped me rethink how teenagers are currently understood in light of how they were historically positioned. Adolescence is one of many psychological and physical transformations that people go through as they mature, but being a teenager is purely a social construct, laden with all sorts of political and economic interests.
i think we’ve redefined (assumed a definition of) adolescence as well.. by what we have perceived as a normal transition.. by what we have perceived as normal..
how much is man made..
which, perhaps, also has created/constructed what we call mid-life crisis.. ness.
We encourage our children to dis-attach from us with this ritual of school. By design, we encourage youth to spend more time with peers than with adults. We encourage a peer dependency, often without a strong enough adult-attachment to cope with the conditions of it (ie: I will like you if…). This leaves our kids insatiably/forever hungry for approval and belonging. We have nudged them away from a natural unconditional sense of themselves (ie: us loving them). No amount of money/accolades/prestige can replace that. For many, it becomes our ongoing unmet need. We are never free from the pursuit of closeness.. a perpetual insecurity.
There is no closeness that can surpass the sense of feeling known and still being liked, accepted, welcomed, invited to exist.
So, perhaps we have it all wrong. Perhaps what our kids (and ourselves and our communities) need most is to be grounded first and foremost in being known by someone. Perhaps, we use our resources (time/people/money/things/space), on just getting that right.
Perhaps, we ourselves have manufactured adolescence and mid-life crisis.
The more detached from us they become, the more they have to fit in with their peers; thus the more desperate they are to avoid being different. …In the psychological life of the developing young human being—and for many grown-ups, too, if we’re honest about it—attachment is what matters most.
Helping to lull us into complacency is the fact that, at least initially, peer-oriented children also tend be more schoolable.
Our society is so topsy-turvy that we may actually come to value the child’s willingness to separate more than her instincts for closeness.
..people with ADHD have an overactive imagination as opposed to a learning disability.
.. imagine being an explorer trapped in an educational classroom where the teacher is saying, ‘Pay attention to me and don’t explore,’” he says. “It drives them nuts.”
Kids who cut themselves are either jumping out of their skin and use self-injury to calm themselves down, or are numb and empty and use self-injury to feel something.
e report sets out 17 hugely ambitious goals for sustainable development, including the following: ending poverty, hunger, ensuring well-being for all at all ages, ensuring inclu- sive and equitable quality education, gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls, promoting inclusive economic growth, decent work, reducing inequality within and among countries and so on.
while young people have been involved in the process of drafting the document, they are simultaneously understood as ‘potential’, in need of skills training so they can find employment – ‘no society can reach its full poten- tial if whole segments of that society, especially young people, are excluded from partici- pating in, contributing to and benefitting from development’ (p. 17)
yes.. and oh my along with previous para..
assuming Ed and employment… and now… no voice u til skills for employment gained…?
it seems timely to remind ourselves what the term ‘adolescent’ means. ‘Adolescence’ derives from Latin and translates as ‘becoming adult’. As British social anthropologist Ronnie Frankenberg famously remarked on numerous occasions, we can only justify calling young people ‘adolescents’ if we describe our adult selves as ‘mortescent’ – we are all ‘unfinished’ and in a state of ‘becoming’ (see Bendelow, 2003). It is a social construction – as G. Stanley Hall discovered it in the United States in the early 20th Century, in his (in)famously titled book Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education, so now a century later, it is being ‘discovered’ all over the world. It is a period of the lifecycle that becomes problematic as compulsory schooling is extended over a pro- tracted period, which inevitably delays the attainment of adult status (see also Koffman, 2014). To this extent, can the MDGs be said to have created global ‘adolescence’? The definition of ‘adolescent’ clearly also depends on what is meant by adulthood.
As Montgomery (2009) points outs most, if not all, cultures have ways of marking the end of childhood and the onset of adulthood in some manner, often marked by rites of passage. However, it is only in the industrialised world that this stage of the lifecycle has been conceptualised as a state worthy of medical/psychiatric attention, a pathological condition of mythic propor- tions in the adult imaginary. We need to remind ourselves that ‘adolescence’, at the time of its initial construction and moving forward, incorporated gender, race and class con- notations and implications. Especially in relation to gender, the ‘adolescent boy’ needed to be both managed and contained as well as allowed to be ‘wild’, while the adolescent girl was to be trained and domesticated. Adolescence was, and continues to be, deployed in perhaps predictable ways for working class children and children of colour.
whoa. much unpacking here.
It is arguably a social construction, brought about by the difficult question of how to manage the period in people’s lives when they are no longer at school, but needing to enter a new world, that of work. Like other constructions, adolescence takes on particular hues at particular moments in time, and 2015 is a particular critical moment for the concept. However, as Leena Alanen (2015) reminded us in her editorial, and other childhood sociologists and anthropologists have emphasised in the past (Sharon Stephens, 1995), there are limits to social constructionism. Social constructions ‘can be used to facilitate evidence-free assertions’. Biology clearly plays a part in and, to an extent, determines what happens to people throughout their lives, and bodies do unarguably change during the period after puberty. Sociobiologists and some neuro- scientists argue that biology determines that ‘adolescence’ is a particularly difficult period of storm and stress. However, biology and physical development (and indeed storms and stresses) affect us at all stages of the life course, not just in childhood, as Ronnie Frankenberg’s notion of ‘mortescent’ reminds us. It is the intersection of cul- ture and biology that shapes how childhood, youth (or any stage of the life course) are experienced and understood.
total relation to school.. even in beginnings then.. ie.. detox from school to real life.
danger outcry..that happening earlier.. but obvious with unnatural tensions from both ends.. ie:school and work
Perhaps one of the most puzzling questions to me is how a concept like ‘adolescence’ links with ideas about ‘empowerment’ (at the current moment, always applied to girls), prevailingly expressed in UN documents. Can the two terms be reconciled? Adolescence is a disempowering term – it says to young people that they are ‘not yet’ adult; they are deficient, becoming, lacking, ‘too young’ and so on. It also enables normative ideas to be loaded onto young people in terms of what they should or should not be doing in terms of behaviour. To talk about ‘empowering adolescents’ sounds like a contradiction in terms.
thinking of Laurie here
Many aspects of children’s lives discussed in the pages of the journal reflect aspects of the Great Derangement – the papers we publish on topics like migration, refugees, asy- lum-seeking children, children who are rendered vulnerable by sets of circumstances outside their control, for whom borders have no relevance. Children have been living through and experiencing this derangement and seem likely to continue to do so. (At the time of writing, June 2015, the catastrophic loss of lives of migrants, including children, in the Mediterranean sea, and the displacement of vast numbers of people in the Middle East and Africa, bear witness to this.
It will take more than measurement to re-arrange the derangement, and in the meantime, we should be cautious about the categories we seek to impose.
indeed. would love to share
so many assumptions in article though… that perpetuate this last sentence..
this is the essence of learning. the lecturer says something, and it goes in one ear and out the other. the factoid is repeated; same thing. it’s repeated enough time s and ‘aha- the light bulb goes on and suddenly you get it.. but may not remember it in an hour or on the exam
six – adolescence; or dude, where’s my frontal cortex
if by adolescence..limbic, autonomic and endocrine systems are going full blast while the frontal cortex is still working out the assembly instructions.. we’ve just explained why adolescents are so .. whatever.. it’s the time of life of maximal risk taking, novelty seeking, and affiliation w peers..
however.. much of what we know is clouded by the fact that most kids in that age bracket have been immersed/coerced/trapped/maintained/intoxicated.. in the ie: supposed to’s.. of school/work.. so we really have no idea what a natural young person would be like..
maybe ‘adolescence’ is just a cultural construct.. as we;ll see, neurobiology suggests that adolescence is for real.. that the adolescent brain is not merely a half cooked adult brain or a child’s brain left unrefrigerated for too long.. most cultures do recognize it as distinct.. nonetheless.. what the west invented is the longest period of adolescence..
what does seem, a construct of individualistic cultures is adolescence as a period of intergenerational conflict; youth of collectivist cultures seem less prone toward eye rolling at the dorkiness of adults, starting w parents.. moreover, even w/in individualistic cultures adolescence is not universally a time of acne of the psyche, .. most of us get thru it just fine
seven – back to the crib, back to the womb
childhood is obviously about increasing complexity in ver realm of behavior, though and emotion
really? i don’t know.. i don’t think so.. i think the supposed to’s.. of school/work.. homogenize.. reductionize us.. i’d say the not yet scrambled ness of youth is much more complex.. ie: the complexity of an undisturbed ecosystem
(after section on stages of development and marshmallow test): 5 yr old champs at marshmallow patience averaged higher sat scores in high school..
(ie of baboon mothers teaching daughters who ranks above who)
so varied types of childhood adversity converge in producing similar adult problems. nonetheless, two types of adversity should be considered separately 1\observing violence 2\ bullying
as noted, an infant baboon learns her place in the hierarchy from her mother. a human child’s lessons about status are more complex – there is implicit cuing, subtle language cues,
from sand talk:
on prussians.. spending 1000s of years trying to replicate control they were under w romans.. by 18th prussia one of greatest powers in europe.. due to fact had larger military force than anyone else.. the prussian system was one of total control.. which successfully managed to coerce the population in to complete submission to the will of the govt..
the govt decided that if it could force people to remain children for few extra years, it could retard social, emotional and intellectual development and control them more easily.. this was the point in history when ‘adolescence’ was invented.. a method of slowing the transition from childhood to adulthood.. so that it would take years rather than ..for ie.. the months it takes in indigenous rites of passaged..
this delayed transition, intended to create a permanent state of childlike compliance in adults, was developed from farming techniques used to break horses and to domesticate animals.. domesticating – as mutations of wild species into an infantilized form w a smaller brain and inability to adapt or solve problems..
to domesticate an animal in the say you must: 1\ separate young from parents in daylight hours 2\ confine them in an enclosed space w limited stimulation or access to natural habitat 3\ use rewards and punishment to force them to comply w purposeless tasks..
prussians created a system using same techniques to manufacture adolescence and thus domesticate their people..
the system they invented in the early 19th cent to administer this change was public ed:the radical innovation of universal primary schooling, followed by streaming into trade, professional and leadership ed.. arbitrated by a rigorous examination system.. (on top of the usual considerations of money and class).. 90% of prussian students attended the volkschule, where they learned a simple versions of history, religion, manners and obedience and were drilled endlessly in basic lit and numeracy.. discipline was paramount; boredom was weaponized and deployed to lobotomize the population
wow.. worth the book there
prussians began to make plans to spread the institution of schooling as a tool for social control thru out the world.. as it facilitated the kind of uniformity and compliance that was needed to make the model of nationhood world.. the us could testify to the effectiveness of prussian ed as a tool for domination and powers, as american educators had been making pilgrimages to germany for more than half a century.. excitingly, test schools across america proved that the artificially induced phenom of adolescences was achievable outside of prussia..
adolescence et al
motto was work sets you free.. a slogan that the nazis adopted and later placed above the gates of concentration camps..
now as ever, the creation of a workforce to sere the national econ is the openly stated main goal of public ed.. and , as ever, the inmates of this system are told that their enthusiastic compliance w forced labor will be in their best interests at some future point..
germany’s compulsory ed system express six outcomes in its original syllabus documents: 1\ obedient soldiers 2\ obedient workers 3\ well subordinated civil servants 4\ citizens who though alike 6\ national uniformity in though, word, ,and deed..
us involved much earlier.. benjamin franklin advocating the prussian system..
all around world.. new system of ed, nationalism, finance, corporatism and social control were informed by fascist ideas and theories from germany and the us.. encouraging the extermination of indigenous people and minorities..
when smoke cleared, lands and power and blame were redistributed unevenly among the survivors, and a new world emerged with new stories providing a sanitized history of good triumphing over evil..
the structural racism installed thru prussian style schooling and the eugenics movement would not be discarded, merely rebranded.. later, following long civil rights struggles and campaigns for social justice, racial inferiority renamed ‘cultural difference’.. racial integration renamed ‘reconciliation’ .. in the colonies assimilation was relaunched as ‘closing the gap’.. the language became more politically correct, but the globalizing goals of cultural uniformity, econ compliance and homogenized id’s remained the same..
in my crackpot version of this history, public schooling plays a principal role in the story of transition from one age to the next.. i hope this marginal perspective is far enough ‘out of the box’ to provoke some questions regarding the sustainability of the global systems that shape our minds and lives..
ie: cure ios city
what form of knowledge transmission (aka ed) need to take during this transition.. us-two may also tentatively wonder whether our minds are not to domesticated and shriveled even to contemplate these questions effectively
a good way to begin might be to listen to as many divergent version of this history as possible.. form many points of view.. most important.. i have learned from children.. the inmates of the ed system