Changes in growing-up and new identity politics Mirjana Ule
Summary: This article sets changes in identity relations within the context of changes in life courses and the process of growing up. It analyzes how the contents and form of the fundamental identity crisis (first discussed by Erik Erikson as located in the period of youth/adolescence) have changed through new developments in the lifestyles of youths, and in the transition to adulthood. It argues that, due to the modern prolonging of youth and the transition to adulthood, the fundamental identity crisis has now been postponed to late youth or early adulthood. It claims that today, the young only acquire the status of adulthood through lengthy negotiations with fundamental social institutions, rather than on the basis of any pre-defined norms or indicators of adulthood. This has caused a delay in the transition from youth to adulthood, which is becoming increasingly ambiguous, moving away from traditional normative expectations and becoming ever-more pluralist. Because of problems with fundamental institutions of transition, such as gaining employment and economic independence, the process of transition has become even more hazardous and uncertain. This all has an effect on the process of solving the identity crisis that occurs during the transition to adulthood.