Social scientists generally agree that relations between the different life stages in advanced industrial societies are changing. Far less agreement exists over how to interpret these changes. Using an innovative approach to the study of life course, Marlis Buchmann explores the changes in educational, occupational, and family careers that threaten an end to familiar life patterns characteristic of the mid-twentieth century.
Comparing data from two nationally representative samples of white American high school graduates of 1960 and 1980, Buchmann (sociology, U.of Zurich) finds an increasingly blurred distinction between youth and adulthood. The maturation process has changed from a rapid, well- defined status passage to a more extended, diversified, and highly individualized "in between" period. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)