Author: Pomfret, David M.
Title: Young people and the European city : age relations in Nottingham and Saint-Etienne, 1890-1940
Aldershot, England ; Burlington, VT : Ashgate, c2004.
“As European society became more urbanized in the nineteenth century and new approaches to city life were developed, educated observers began to articulate their fears about the impact cities had on the young. No less alarming were instances of misbehaviour by young city dwellers, which commentators often sought to explain through reference to environmental conditions. Remedying the particular problems faced by young people in cities required influence over this group. As the city was seen to have undetermined traditional links between older generations and the young, it was clear that by the late nineteenth century new methods were necessary to reach and to improve young city dwellers. By raising the problem of the reciprocal relationship between the young and their cities, Europeans made the meaning of urban living an integral component in the ongoing debate about the rising generation.” “This is the first study to address the broad age spectrum of pre-adulthood, rather than one or other of its constituent life-stages, allowing the interrelated development of its sub-categories to be highlighted. Situating the study within the specific comparative context of an Anglo-French study has enabled the clarity of analysis to be sharpened and claims for cultural similarities and differences to be grounded historically. Focusing on one English city, Nottingham, and one French city, Saint-Etienne, a comparative perspective has been provided addressing the reciprocal relationship between young people, adults and the urban environment. In comparing these two cities this study also engages with historians’ claims for general, trans-national shifts in the cultural meanings of childhood, adolescence and youth, and considers how these were worked out at local level.”