In This Chapter


Authored by: Ken Green

Routledge Handbook of Youth Sport

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415840033
eBook ISBN: 9780203795002
Adobe ISBN: 9781134469932


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The four authors in Section 1 explore change and transformation in youths’ lives and the implications for the context in which the remaining topics in the Handbook need to be understood. In Chapter 2, Young people and social change, Ken Roberts outlines the ways in which the youth life-stage has been reshaped in all Western countries, with most other countries increasingly resembling the West. There have been several key developments in the overall reshaping of youth, which Roberts identifies as extension, destandardisation and individualisation. In keeping with the notion of youth as a life stage (see the General introduction), youth has been extended, but with huge variations in how long it now lasts, depending on individual circumstances. In addition, some of the transitions experienced during youth (for example, from living with parents to living alone, and from being in education to gaining paid employment) have been destandardised in the sense that there is no longer a single, normal sequence followed by the vast majority of youth. These developments have led to the increased individualisation of youth biographies. Although youth has been reshaped, what Roberts refers to as ‘the major landmarks’ in the transition from youth to adulthood remain: completing full-time education, obtaining an adult job, marriage and parenthood. Indeed, as Roberts observes, the wider changes in the life stage of youth appear to have no direct implications for sports careers. These tend to have their own structure and momentum. While sports careers have always been individualised, the wider changes in the youth life stage have altered the context in which youth sports careers develop (or do not develop). The upshot is that although youth sports careers can endure relatively independently of wider changes to the life stage of youth, such changes require us to rethink how sport is presented and delivered to young people. The rest of this Handbook teases out some of the issues in need of reflection and, perhaps, action.

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