Young people's experiences and lived circumstances, individual and collective, make up a distinctive field of investigation for the social sciences. As commonly constructed, youth is a socio-cultural status at the interface of childhood and adulthood: young people are persons in transition, moving from amongst others familial dependency to independent adulthood and from formal education to the labor market.
The social sciences have consistently sought ways of engaging with young people; as a field of study 'youth studies' has always been multidisciplinary – drawing on theoretical perspectives, empirical concerns and methodological frameworks from sociology, social policy, education, psychology, anthropology, cultural studies, gender studies, childhood studies, social work, criminology and health studies. This resulted in a wide-ranging but often disparate body of work, and to a research field that has, by its very nature, drawn on a wide variety of research tools and techniques. This diversity and richness means important theoretical, substantive and methodological contributions to the study of young people are found in mainstream journals across the disciplines.
This collection brings together key contributions to the social scientific study of young people's lives and experiences. It addresses the methodological and empirical challenges of undertaking research with and about young people; and provides opportunities to compare the data, analyses and theoretical contribution of different methodological approaches. The overarching theme of the collection is methodological – exemplifying the different ways of engaging with young people as a field of study.