Breached Initiations: Sociopolitical Resources and Conflicts in Emergent Adulthood

Norma Mendoza-Denton, Aomar Boum

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Work theorizing youth subcultures, especially of the spectacular kind, has provided an influential approach for understanding the lives of young people for the past 40 years in anthropology and sociology. In this review, we frame current literature through a lens we call "breached initiations." We motivate our organization of the literature into processes we term "delaying," "hopscotching," and "opting out," referring to ways in which youth engage sociopolitical resources and chronotopes to alter the sequencing and clustering of their expected progress through milestones of adulthood. In many cases, youth delay or refuse entry into a world that is considered "normal" and demand a reconsideration of its very premises. We highlight symbolic, material, and networked resources; by considering the commonalities in the structural situations of different youth groups, we do not view them as islands, but instead assert their embeddedness in common change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-310
Number of pages16
JournalAnnual Review of Anthropology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 21 2015


  • Language
  • Resistance
  • Subcultures
  • Transitions
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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