Handbook of the Life Course (Vol. 2)

M.J. Shanahan, J. T. Mortimer and M. Kirkpatrick Johnson (Eds)

ISBN 978-3-319-20879-4 (hardcover) – 978-3-319-20880-0 (ebook)

Springer International Publishing, Switzerland – 2016


Building on the success of the 2003 Handbook of the Life Course, this second volume identifies future directions for life course research and policy. The introductory essay and the chapters that make up the five sections of this book, show consensus on strategic “next steps” in life course studies. These next steps are explored in detail in each section: Section I, on life course theory, provides fresh perspectives on well-established topics, including cohorts, life stages, and legal and regulatory contexts. It challenges life course scholars to move beyond common individualistic paradigms. Section II highlights changes in major institutional and organizational contexts of the life course.  9783319208794
 It draws on conceptual advances and recent empirical findings to identify promising avenues for research that illuminate the interplay between structure and agency. It examines trends in family, school, and workplace, as well as contexts that deserve heightened attention, including the military, the criminal justice system, and natural and man-made disaster. The remaining three sections consider advances and suggest strategic opportunities in the study of health and development throughout the life course. They explore methodological innovations, including qualitative and three-generational longitudinal research designs, causal analysis, growth curves, and the study of place. Finally, they show ways to build bridges between life course research and public policy.


See the Table of contents here


About the authors

Michael J. Shanahan is Professor of Sociology and Faculty Fellow at the Carolina Population Center and at the Center for Developmental Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is interested in individual differences in the life course, a theme that he has studied with reference to genetics, health, and personality. Recent articles appear in Social Forces, Developmental Psychology, Journal of Health and Social Behavior, and Social Science and Medicine. His current research examines associations between social circumstances and gene transcription both early and later in the life course.

Jeylan T. Mortimer is Professor of Sociology and Founding Director of the Life Course Center, University of Minnesota, and Principal Investigator of the longitudinal, three generation Youth Development Study. Her interests span the areas of work and socioeconomic attainment, the life course, youth and transition to adulthood.  Her recent articles appear in Social Psychology Quarterly, Social Forces, the Journal of Research on Adolescence, the Journal of Marriage and Family, Developmental Psychology, the Journal of Vocational Behavior, Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, and Demography.  Her current research examines intergenerational change and transmission of achievement orientations, the impacts of prior parental experiences and trajectories on their adolescent children, and the sources of resilience in the transition to adulthood.  Professor Mortimer is Chair of the Section on Aging and the Life Course in the American Sociological Association.  She previously served as Chair of the ASA Sections on Children and Youth, and Social Psychology.

Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson is Professor of Sociology and Honors College Distinguished Professor at Washington State University.  Her research interests are in the areas of work, family, and education across the life course, with particular focus on well-being and achievement in adolescence and the transition to adulthood. Her recent research has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, Social Science Research, Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Forces and Social Psychology Quarterly.  Her current research focuses on families’ and young people’s adaptations to the changing nature of the transition to adulthood, including familial financial support in young adulthood and its implications for attainment and well-being; change in educational and work ambitions tied to changing personal and historical circumstances; and the interplay of stratification and the development of social psychological resources in promoting well-being and attainment.