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In this book, Francesco Duina shows how the dominant American discourse articulates two basic approaches to transitions in life. The first approach depicts transitions as exciting, individualistic opportunities for new beginnings: the past is cast aside, the future is wide open, and the self has the opportunity to recreate itself anew. The second paints transitions as having to do with continuity, our connections to others, and the life-cycle, with an emphasis on acceptance and adaptation. Though contrasting, the two approaches ultimately complement each other. Their analysis reveals a great deal about American culture and society, and will be of great interest to students of the life course and the sociology of culture.
Table of Contents
- List of figures and tables
- I Introduction
- 1. Discourse and Transitions in Life
- II The Impact of Institutions
- 2. Starting College
- 3. Getting Married
- 4. First Child
- 5. Losing a Job
- 6. Surviving a Life-Threatening Disease
- 7. Divorce
- 8. Parents’ Death
- 9. Retirement
- III Conclusion
- 10. Transitions in America
- Appendix 1: Data Sources Overview