The Passage from Youth to Adulthood explores a society unanchored from culturally endorsed rites of passage, in which young people and adults appear to build their identities within a culture of dependency. Pierluca Birindelli interviewed Italian young adults still living with their parents, focusing on their relations with the bedroom and the objects in it. He then analyzed self-narrations and longer autobiographies written by university students, measuring his impressions against sociological, psychological, and anthropological literature. Exploring the paradigm of what he calls “intergenerational collusion,” Birindelli finds fathers failing to act as adults with the tacit complicity of their sons: both are playing to the same script, heedless of the common good, the other, and the future. Finally, integrating the experience of young Americans abroad sparks transcultural reflections about the concept of play and the authenticity of social performance.
“Pierluca Birindelli has written a theoretically ambitious study on a very fascinating subject: Italian young people who stay at home until thirty and longer. Birindelli tells us what these young adults think and how they see their lives. In doing this he develops new interesting concepts and presents an approach which combines different methods to reveal the deep roots of the phenomenon and the effects it has on the young Italians. We literally enter their rooms and their playful existence—both concretely and theoretically. The book ends in a theory of the Big Game, which opens the way to understand this Italian specificity. This is a groundbreaking book, which will make waves far outside Italy.”
― J.P. Roos, professor emeritus of sociology, University of Helsinki, former president of the European Sociological Association
“The young are the future. This book, which is a book for young people and for adults, leads us with felicitous sociological imagination into the world to come with its shadows and its lights.”
― Gianfranco Bettin Lattes, professor of sociology, University of Florence
“The Passage from Youth to Adulthood is all about truth, is based on our true stories, true lives. This book is salt on the wounds of a disoriented and fragile generation, scared to face a world that has become way more difficult than their parents’. Pierluca succeeds in being ironic and passionate at the same time in this original work.”
― Daniele Brunori, now a wine merchant in Guangzhou, China
Pierluca Birindelli is a docent in sociology at the University of Helsinki and teaches at Gonzaga University and the International Studies Institute in Florence. Birindelli has published two books in Italian on the passage from youth to adulthood, a monograph about self-identity in late modernity, and articles addressing the themes of individual and collective identity.
Birindelli, Pierluca. 2014. The Passage from Youth to Adulthood: Narrative and Cultural Thresholds. Lenham, MA: University Press of America (Rowman & Littlefield Group).