The teenage years are accompanied by both social role transitions and biological growth, and our understanding of these facets of teenage life has shifted throughout time and space. This entry provides an overview of the key and often contradictory ways the teenager has been conceptualized in North America: as an invention of the market, as a by-product of democratic and economic privilege, as a person beset by storm and stress and experiencing intense physiological changes, and as a social being undergoing the work of individuation. Special attention is given to how the culture and entertainment industries have contributed to the role teenagers play in the Western social imaginary.

The Teenager as a Market Force

The word teenager is sometimes thought to be interchangeable with the word adolescent, ...

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