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Title: "A little taste of the adult world" : alcohol, adolescents and adults
Author: Johnson, Peter
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2012
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The purpose of this thesis is two-fold. Firstly, to probe the social positioning of 14-15 year old Northern Irish teenagers within an adult-centred society, utilising underage alcohol consumption as a window into exploring this issue. Secondly, this thesis seeks to demonstrate the utility of adopting a Goffinanian theoretical perspective when analysing "childhood" and "youth" - an approach which offers an integrative framework encompassing the interrelationship of the self, social structures, emotions, resistance and agency. The research design is qualitative, drawing upon written exercises, pictorial prompts and focus group interviews with 251 teenagers, conducted within twelve schools located in East and West Belfast. Three themes emerged from the empirical data which illuminate aspects of teenage social positioning within an adult world: the profaned self, the productive self and the projected self. Firstly, the profaned self directs attention to adult-child relations and the overarching, mortifying categorical identity which teenagers are routinely ascribed within adult society. Secondly, the productive self relates to aspects of teenage selfhood which are . exhibited indirectly through teenage normative practices - an accomplishment which seemingly exhibits autonomous agency, but which remains modulated by adult standards. Thirdly, the projected self explores the gendered, classed and ethno-national distinctions generated among teenagers which mark out identities within their overarching categorical positioning, although the wider adult structure still interlaces evaluations of permissible performances. These findings are subsequently analysed through Goffinan's concept of "moral career", demonstrating how the teenage self is patterned by an individual's social position within the wider institutional complex of adult society. The overall thrust of the research contends that even though the self is actualised as a stance-taking entity, the overarching impact of adult structures merely opens up apparent possibilities for manoeuvring selfhood, whilst constraining teenagers to a restrictive idiom of real choices.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available