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Patrice Huerre, Martine Pagan-Reymond, Jean-Michel Reymond

Adolescence doesn't exist

Childhood, adulthood and old-age most certainly do exist. But what about adolescence ? Is it a truly obligatory and fatal passage or on the contrary, a sociocultural phenomen merely reflecting the increasingly visible signs of uneasiness in a changing world ?Adolescence, a term which applies to a very specific period of life situated between childhood and adulthood, is a recent conception in the history of man. Primitive societies do not single out adolescence and nor did the highly evolved societies of Greece, Rome, France in the Middle Ages and of Modern Times.This iconoclastic essay brings attention to the relative and artificial character of this age of transition through the observation of its manifestations and avatars through the ages, from Antiquity up to modern times. It has become a reference book showing clearly how we have constructed a whole series of artifices surrounding adolescence. These articifices are portrayed through meanings given to physical aspects, the State, the family, religion, economy, demography, educational concepts .... all ascribe certain pre-defined roles to adolescence.

Patrice Huerre is a hospital psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and director of the Georges Heuyer University Medical Clinic in Paris.

Martine Pagan-Reymond is a certified professor in Modern Literature.

Jean-Michel Reymond, formerly Chief of Staff of Child and Adolescent Psycology is now Director of the Medical-Pedagogic Center of Saint-Lô.