Inventing the Rules: Redefining Moral Agency amongst the First Post Independence Generation in Papua New Guinea

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Authors:
  • Karen Sykes
  • Deborah Durham (Editor)
  • Jacqueline Solway (Editor)


Over the past decade, complaints about an inability to achieve adulthood have rung out around the world. Young people across the globe, burdened with debt and unsatisfactory job prospects, are struggling to establish households, marry, and, perhaps most significantly, own up. For them, achievement of adulthood has become increasingly elusive.

Elusive Adulthoods poses the question What is adulthood?s how the field of anthropology has come to overlook this meaningful life transition. Through diverse case studies, contributors explore a variety of means by which adulthood can be recognized, such as negotiated relationships with others, including grown children, and as a form of upward class mobility. Contributors also grapple with the difficulties that come from a sense of having missed full adulthood rapid social change or reluctance to embrace the necessary subordination to job and family. In each case, changing political and economic factors form the background for generational experiences and understandings of what it means to reach adulthood as globalization dictates changes to traditional rites of passage.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElusive Adulthoods
Place of PublicationIllinois
PublisherIndiana University Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-253-02973-7
ISBN (Print)978-0-253-02973-7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017

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