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Puberty in Crisis
The Sociology of Early Sexual Development

  • Date Published: August 2015
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107104723

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  • Puberty has long been recognised as a difficult and upsetting process for individuals and families, but it is now also being widely described as in crisis. Reportedly occurring earlier and earlier as each decade of the twenty-first century passes, sexual development now heralds new forms of temporal trouble in which sexuality, sex/gender and reproduction are all at stake. Many believe that children are growing up too fast and becoming sexual too early. Clinicians, parents and teachers all demand something must be done. Does this out-of-time development indicate that children's futures are at risk or that we are entering a new era of environmental and social perturbation? Engaging with a diverse range of contemporary feminist and social theories on the body, biology and sex, Celia Roberts urges us to refuse a discourse of crisis and to rethink puberty as a combination of biological, psychological and social forces.

    • Proposes an original, interdisciplinary understanding of early sexual development that will appeal to a broad range of readers interested in sex, gender and children's development
    • Provides a feminist analysis of early sexual development and explains the significance of this issue to feminism
    • Makes a serious contribution both to social studies of health and biomedicine, and to feminist and social theory
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'With characteristic, clear-eyed style, Celia Roberts negotiates the shoals of biological and social reductionism to give us a rigorous, richly entangled account of contemporary puberty. She clarifies the anxieties around the 'precocious girl' and identifies the many tributaries that feed the moral panic around feminine sexual development. This book should be read by anybody interested in a critical account of girlhood, the life course, sexuality, and the ways the biological and the social collaborate in the history of the body.' Catherine Waldby, Professorial Future Fellow, University of Sydney

    'Puberty in Crisis is an important book which deftly navigates the complexities of sexed embodiment as situated, temporal and produced through notions of class, race, ethnicity and gender. The analytical matrix of 'findings, feelings and figurations' keeps multiple narratives of the 'crisis' of puberty in play, and urges an approach which can embrace diversity in sexual development. Exhaustively researched, engagingly written and brilliant in insight, it surely establishes Celia Roberts as one of feminist science studies' brightest stars.' Barbara L. Marshall, Trent University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2015
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107104723
    • length: 300 pages
    • dimensions: 237 x 160 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.6kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Puberty in crisis? Sex, reproduction and the loss of future
    2. Articulating findings, feelings and figurations: methods and approaches
    3. Telling histories: the scientific study of puberty
    4. Defining early onset puberty: troubling findings about sexual development
    5. Causes and explanations: genes, fat, toxins and families
    6. Consequences of early development: sex, drugs and shortness
    7. Treatments: pharmaceuticals, sex and suffering
    Conclusion: folding puberty differently: changing findings, feeling and figurations.

  • Author

    Celia Roberts, Lancaster University
    Celia Roberts is Senior Lecturer and Co-Director of the Centre for Gender and Women's Studies in the Department of Sociology at Lancaster University. She is a long-standing editor of the journal Feminist Theory and author of Messengers of Sex: Hormones, Biomedicine and Feminism (Cambridge University Press, 2007).

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