Youth and Generation: Rethinking Change and Inequality in the Lives of Young People

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Dan Woodman & Johanna Wyn

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    Dedication

    For Louis and Corinne, and for Evan, Michael, Julia, Natalie, Malte and James

    About the Authors

    Dr Dan Woodman is the TR Ashworth Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Youth Studies and Vice President for Australia, New Zealand and Oceania of Research Committee 34: Sociology of Youth within the International Sociological Association. His work focuses on the sociology of generations, individualisation and inequality among young people, and the impact of insecure work and variable employment patterns on young people's relationships.

    Professor Johanna Wyn is Director of the Youth Research Centre in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at The University of Melbourne, Australia and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences Australia. Her work focuses on young people's learning and wellbeing, on their transitions and on what kinds of knowledge and skills professionals who work with young people in these settings need in the twenty-first century.

    Acknowledgements

    This book is a culmination of thinking about the concept of generations and its value to youth studies that began almost a decade ago (Wyn and Woodman, 2006). These ideas about the concept of generations have been further developed to support new arguments in this book. We have also expanded on ideas that were first presented in joint and individual publications. In particular some elements of Chapter 3 first appeared in Woodman (2009, 2010) and Chapter 4 in Woodman (2011a). Chapter 7 also draws on arguments from work presented elsewhere (Woodman, 2011b, 2012, 2013). Likewise Chapter 5 draws on insights from Cuervo and Wyn (2012, 2014) and Woodman and Wyn (2013).

    Our thinking draws on the Life Patterns research programme, a longitudinal panel study of two cohorts of Australian youth, based in the Youth Research Centre at the University of Melbourne. The first stage of the programme commenced in 1991, with a cohort of young people who had just completed their secondary education. A second cohort of school leavers was recruited in 2005/6. The lead investigator during the early years of the research programme was Peter Dwyer, and in 2002 Johanna became the lead investigator. Combined, the two of us have approximately three decades’ experience of research with the Life Patterns programme (Johanna since the project began and Dan since 2005). In 2014 the research team includes Hernan Cuervo, Graeme Smith, Julia Coffey, Jessica Crofts and Lesley Andres. Along with two anonymous readers, these colleagues have generously given of their time to comment on draft chapters of this book. Jessica also expertly compiled the index, and Anne Farrelly, also at the Youth Research Centre, assisted with tracking down missing references.

    Since 1998 the Life Patterns research programme has been funded by a number of grants from the Australian Research Council. Previous to 1998 the study received funding from the Australian National Training Authority. We are grateful to the participants who have continued to give their time over many years. Thanks are also due to the professional support provided by Sage, particularly our editors Gemma Shields and Tom Bedford.

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