Reframing (im)maturity : interrogating representations of the transition to adulthood in contemporary American film and television

Pearlman, Susan (2013) Reframing (im)maturity : interrogating representations of the transition to adulthood in contemporary American film and television. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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At the turn of the twenty-first century, institutional and cultural changes caused adolescence as a life stage to become increasingly overdetermined, while simultaneously
blurring its definitional boundaries. Although the concept of youth as a culturally defined category is of relatively recent origin, adolescence is culturally recognized as a biological and social necessity; a process one must go through in order to negotiate the passageway from childhood to adulthood. Problematically, the very existence of
adolescence depends on the fixity of childhood and adulthood, life stages that are themselves highly contestable. Fascination with those individuals who did not conform to culturally sanctioned ideas of adolescence during this decade, classified by such terms as “emerging adulthood,” “twixters,” and “rejuveniles,” evinces the tenuous nature of life-stage categorizations and their fluctuating role in cultural understandings of
individual psychosocial formation.
This thesis argues that adolescence, and consequently the subject position of the adolescent, should be understood as an assemblage of a wide array of practices employed in the management and regulation of a specific population. Accordingly, this project asserts that a shift occurred in the representation of adolescence at the beginning of the twenty-first century that worked to legitimize one particular depiction of adulthood, consequently positioning adolescents as something worth obviating and
marginalizing through the censure of the performance of certain immature behaviors and attitudes. Through the exploration of “threshold moments” as represented in American film and television from 1999-2008, moments at which individuals are depicted as struggling to reach autonomy, this thesis uncovers the mechanisms that naturalize the figure of the adolescent as an attenuated individual possessing partially formed identities and skills, considering the ways in which this discursive formation operates in the new millennium as a means by which a certain type of privilege is negotiated, controlled and reasserted.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Film and Television Studies (former - to 2012)
Depositing User: Jackie Webb
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2015 14:15
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2015 14:15


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