Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 8444
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Hanawalt , Barbara A.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Historical Descriptions and Prescriptions for Adolescence [The author considers the concept of adolescence, with a focus on female adolescence, as it was recognized and defined from the Middle Ages to the present. Title note supplied by Feminae.].
  • Source: Journal of Family History 17, 4 ( 1992): Pages 341 - 351.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Adolescents Age Groups Girls Puberty Young Men
  • Award Note:
  • Geographic Area: General
  • Century:
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  • Abstract: The use of the term "adolescence" for any period other than the late nineteenth or twentieth century has been much debated. Ari├Ęs denied that the medieval period had a life phase that could be described with such a term; others have argued that the term carries a particular, very modern meaning even if Augustine did use the term "adolescentia." This introduction to a collection of essays on the history of adolescence shows that the life stage was a well recognized and defined one through the Middle Ages and into the modern period. While the modern period did not invent adolescence, it did modify the definition. Constants in adolescence from the thirteenth through the twentieth century are the struggle between adults and youth over entry and exit from adolescence and for control during that period. But much changes over the centuries. Social scientific discussions that aid in our historical analysis are almost entirely based on the male rather than the female experience. While cultural change modifies the male definitions of adolescence, the medieval and twentieth-century definition of female adolescence stays closer to biological than social definitions of puberty.
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  • Author's Affiliation: University of Minnesota
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1992.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 03631990