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“青春”的消亡

“青春”的消亡

我们翻译这篇文章的理由

上世纪初,生产力的发展提出了对高素质劳动力的要求,进而带来了“童年”与“青春期”的概念。在经历了数十年对青春的塑造与歌颂后,信息浪潮的冲击与恶性事件的频发给社会带来了新的困惑。不再天真烂漫的青春里,究竟住了些什么样的人物?这样的“异化”的青春,究竟还是不是我们所熟悉的那个青春期?过去的理论和方法均已失灵,面对“垮掉的”新生代,该如何认识及导向?

——刘小康

👇

“青春”的消亡

作者:Paula S Fass

译者:刘小康

校对:王雅婧

推荐:罗玉池

策划:刘小康& 泮海伦

The end of adolescence

“青春”的消亡

In the 20th century it offered a bridge from the innocence of childhood to the responsibilities of adult life.Not any more

“青春期”的概念在20世纪为童年的纯真和成年的责任架起了桥梁,然而已是明日黄花。

Adolescence as an idea and as an experience grew out of the more general elevation of childhood as an ideal throughout the Western world. By the closing decades of the 19th century, nations defined the quality of their cultures by the treatment of their children. As Julia Lathrop, the first director of the United States Children’s Bureau, the first and only agency exclusively devoted to the wellbeing of children, observed in its second annual report, children’s welfare ‘tests the public spirit and democracy of a community’.

“青春期”这一概念和经验,是从西方世界更为普遍地把童年看成一种理想的高度发展而来的。19世纪后半叶起,各国开始借助儿童福利彰显自身的文化优势。美国儿童事务局是美国第一家、也是唯一一家投身于儿童福利的政府机构。其首任局长朱莉娅•拉索普(Julia Lathrop)在任职次年的年度报告中称,儿童福利“反映了社会的公共意识与民主精神”。

Progressive societies cared for their children by emphasising play and schooling; parents were expected to shelter and protect their children’s innocence by keeping them from paid work and the wrong kinds of knowledge; while health, protection and education became the governing principles of child life. These institutional developments were accompanied by a new children’s literature that elevated children’s fantasy and dwelled on its special qualities. The stories of Beatrix Potter, L Frank Baum and Lewis Carroll celebrated the wonderland of childhood through pastoral imagining and lands of oz.

进步社会通过强调玩乐与教育来关爱孩子。父母应当守护孩子的纯真,让他们远离打零工和不良信息;卫生、防护和教育则成了儿童生活的主导原则。这些制度的发展伴随着新儿童文学的诞生。新的儿童文学不仅提升了儿童的想象力,而且反复强调了儿童的特有品质。优秀的儿童作家通过《彼得兔》、《绿野仙踪》、《爱丽丝漫游奇境》等作品,歌颂了童年田园牧歌式的自在与仙境般的不可思议。

The United States went further. In addition to the conventional scope of childhood from birth through to age 12 – a period when children’s dependency was widely taken for granted – Americans moved the goalposts of childhood as a democratic ideal by extending protections to cover the teen years. The reasons for this embrace of ‘adolescence’ are numerous. As the US economy grew, it relied on a complex immigrant population whose young people were potentially problematic as workers and citizens. To protect them from degrading work, and society from the problems that they could create by idling on the streets, the sheltering umbrella of adolescence became a means to extend their socialisation as children into later years. The concept of adolescence also stimulated Americans to create institutions that could guide adolescents during this later period of childhood; and, as they did so, adolescence became a potent category.

美国在这方面走得更远。传统而言,12岁之后,孩子对成年人的依赖就不再被视作天经地义。而美国人把“童年”视为民主理想目标,将其分界线进一步扩大,把青春期也纳入了庇护范畴。其背后的原因是多样的。随着经济崛起,美国越来越依赖于庞杂的移民人口,而其中不少年轻人可能不适合进厂工作或担负社会责任。为预防他们从事下三滥的职业、也为防止闲散人员在街头滋事引发动荡,“青春期”这把保护伞,让他们在未来几年中仍能以儿童的身份继续社会化过程。“青春期”的概念还促使美国人建立指导机构,规范处于“童年尾声”的青少年;由此,“青春期”开始普遍为大众所接受。

With the concept of adolescence, American parents, especially those in the middle class, could predict the staging of their children’s maturation. But adolescence soon became a vision of normal development that was applicable to all youth – its bridging character (connecting childhood and adulthood) giving young Americans a structured way to prepare for mating and work. In the 21st century, the bridge is sagging at both ends as the innocence of childhood has become more difficult to protect, and adulthood is long delayed. While adolescence once helped frame many matters regarding the teen years, it is no longer an adequate way to understand what is happening to the youth population. And it no longer offers a roadmap for how they can be expected to mature.

美国父母——主要是那些中产阶级家庭的父母,得以借助青春期洞见孩子的未来。然而,“青春期”不久就成了强加于全体青少年健康发展的不二愿景。其连结了童年与成年的过渡性角色,让美国的青少年得以按照既定路线为成家立业做好准备。但在新世纪,随着守护童真日益艰难、心理成熟大大推迟,青春期的过渡作用也逐渐尴尬。虽然它一度协助构建了众多青春悸动,但通过它来彻底了解青少年已显不足。它也无法再为青少年提供走向成熟的指导。

In 1904, the psychologist G Stanley Hall enshrined the term ‘adolescence’ in two tomes dense with physiological, psychological and behavioural descriptions that were self-consciously ‘scientific’. These became the touchstone of most discussions about adolescence for the next several decades. As a visible eruption toward adulthood, puberty is recognised in all societies as a turning point, since it marks new strength in the individual’s body and the manifestation of sexual energy. But in the US, it became the basis for elaborate and consequential intellectual reflections, and for the creation of new institutions that came to define adolescence. Though the physical expression of puberty is often associated with a ritual process, there was nothing in puberty that required the particular cultural practices that grew around it in the US as the century progressed. As the anthropologist Margaret Mead argued in the 1920s, American adolescence was a product of the particular drives of American life.

1904年,心理学家斯坦利•霍尔(G Stanley Hall)在他洋洋洒洒的两部著作中收录了“青春期”一词,书中也充斥着自认为“科学性”的生理学、心理学和行为分析学方面的描述。这些成了之后数十年大多青春期有关探究的试金石。青春期是迈向成年的显著爆发,标志着个体的新生力量与性能力的展现,各国都将其视为人生的转折点。但在美国,这成了能全面而深刻的进行理论思考的基础,也成为了定义青少年的新制度建立的基础。青春期的生理表达通常需要经历仪式,但时过境迁,美国的青春期不再需要经历特定的文化习俗。人类学家玛格丽特•米德(Margaret Mead)在上世纪二十年代表示,美国少年的青春期是美式生活中特定驱动力的产物。

译注:与强调生理变化期间的puberty相较,adolescent侧重表述青少年精神层面的变化,更贴近的中文翻译是“中二期”。不过这样翻译的话,可能会显得过于中二了。

Rather than simply being a turning point leading to sexual maturity and a sign of adulthood, Hall proposed that adolescence was a critical stage of development with a variety of special attributes all of its own. Dorothy Ross, Hall’s biographer, describes him as drawing on earlier romantic notions when he portrayed adolescents as spiritual and dreamy as well as full of unfocused energy. But he also associated them with the new science of evolution that early in the century enveloped a variety of theoretical perspectives in a scientific aura. Hall believed that adolescence mirrored a critical stage in the history of human development, through which human ancestors moved as they developed their full capacities. In this way, he endowed adolescence with great significance since it connected the individual life course to larger evolutionary purposes: at once a personal transition and an expression of human history, adolescence became an elemental experience. Rather than a short juncture, it was a highway of multiple transformations.

霍尔认为,青春期不仅仅是性成熟的转折点和成年的标志,更是具有各种特殊属性的关键发展阶段。在他的传记作者多萝西•罗斯(Dorothy Ross)看来,霍尔借鉴了早期的浪漫主义观点,将青春期描绘为富于灵性、梦幻而又满是躁动不安的时期。此外,他还将之与世纪初刚刚发展起来的进化论联系起来,而新的进化论在科学氛围中涵盖着各类理论观点。霍尔认为,“青春期”反映了人类发展史中的关键时期;经过这一时期,人类先祖在不断的迁徙中,能力得以全面发展。据此,霍尔将个体的生命历程与更为广阔的进化意图联系了起来,进而赋予青春期以重大意义:“青春期”既是个人的过渡,也是人类历史的一种表达,是一类原始的体验。青春期不再是简短的转折,而是曲里拐弯的高速公路。

Hall’s book would provide intellectual cover for the two most significant institutions that Americans were creating for adolescents: the juvenile court and the democratic high school.

有了霍尔的著作提供理论背书,美国针对青少年创建了两所最为重要的机构:少年法庭与民主式的高中。

Since adolescents were not quite adults, they were malleable enough to be reformed in ways that would improve their prospects and maintain the US promise

具备可塑性的青少年还有改造的机会,去维护自己的前途和美国的承诺

Hall made the transformational period of adolescence as important as childhood, but adolescents were also viewed as more problematic than younger children, and their potential for misbehaviour more dangerous. Jane Addams, a reformer with a sincere interest in youth (immigrant youth especially), noted in The Spirit of Youth in the City Streets (1909) that an ‘inveterate demand of youth’ was that ‘life shall afford a large element of excitement’ and that for many ‘the excitement has demoralised them and led them into law-breaking’. The juvenile court, which Addams helped to set up, was a response to these dangers and a means to enlist abundant youthful energy toward more positive goals. By viewing adolescents as malleable as well as potent, the juvenile court emphasised growth and socialisation, with a view to turning potential law-breakers into good, reliable citizens.

霍尔使得青春期与童年同等重要,但人们认为青少年比幼儿更加麻烦,他们的不良行径也更危险。改革家简•亚当斯(Jane Addams)对青年群体极为热忱(尤其是移民中的青少年)。她在创作于1909年的《街头青年风貌》(The Spirit of Youth in the City Streets)中写到:“青年痴迷”于“生活中的大量刺激要素”,然而大多人“因此消沉颓废,走上违法犯罪的道路”。她协助建立少年法庭,目的正在于此,也是为引导青少年把充沛的精力投入到更积极的目标中去。通过从青少年身上看到可塑性和有效性,少年法庭强调青少年的成长与社会化,以期将潜在的违法者改造成良好可靠的公民。

Reformers such as Addams looked to the court to help redirect the energies of youth, outraged by what they saw as the abuse of children in industrial production. Their concern was that unhappy young workers would also find alternatives to their drudgery. Thus, in Chicago, Addams discovered ‘a group of girls ranging in age from 12 to 17… trained by older women to open tills in small shops, to pick pockets, to remove handkerchiefs, furs and purses, and to lift merchandise from the counters of department stores’. Urban activists, concerned that the dislocations of immigration and rapid city growth would perpetrate both child labour and juvenile crime, hoped that the juvenile court would protect and guide youth who seemed adrift. Since adolescents were not quite adults, they were viewed as malleable enough to be reformed and/or educated in ways that would improve their own prospects and maintain the US promise.

亚当斯等改革家不齿于工业生产中虐待儿童的行径,希望少年法庭能够纠正青少年的精力输出。她们所忧心的是,郁郁寡欢的年轻工人不甘心从事苦差事,走上歧途。亚当斯自己就在芝加哥遇上了“一班12到17岁的女孩,她们经大姐大训练后,瞄上小商店的收银台、扒口袋,偷手帕、毛皮和钱包,从柜台上顺东西”。城里的活动人士担忧移民引发的混乱和城市的急剧扩张将导致童工泛滥和青少年犯罪,寄望于少年法庭能够对流窜的青少年进行保护和引导。由于青少年还远不是成年人,他们被认为具有较强的可塑性,能够被改造和教育好,从而改善个人前途、维护美国对儿童许下的承诺。

That spirit of possibility was crucial to the framing of the juvenile court, one of Addams’s most lasting achievements. This court gave young offenders protection from the full force of adult law and criminal responsibility; not least, their records were sealed so as not to taint the future. Distinctly paternalistic in its design, the juvenile court aimed to nurture young offenders toward personal responsibility. In extending to adolescents the protections of childhood, the court supervised a wide variety of youthful misbehaviours, such as smoking and sexual activity, while inscribing the delayed maturity of adolescence into the social fabric.

亚当斯影响最为深远的成就之一,即对青少年抱有重塑可能性的执法理念,这是少年法庭运转的核心。该法庭对少年犯提供庇护,免遭成年人法律和刑事责任的全面制裁;不仅如此,他们的犯罪记录也被封存,以免影响到前途。毫无疑问,少年法庭的架构正是家长式作风,旨在培养少年犯的责任意识。在给青少年继续提供童年庇护的过程中,少年法庭监管了包括吸烟和性行为在内的各类青少年不良行为,同时将青少年的推迟成熟固化到了社会结构当中。

As with social reformers, so with educators. Taking up the banner of adolescence, educators reimagined the US public high school as an institution that could address the needs of immigrants and other Americans, while maintaining a democratic idiom in a transforming world. Many of these educational reformers were inspired by John Dewey who hoped to reinvigorate democracy by looking to the potential of the young as participants in their own instruction. Toward this end, they transformed the US high school into a socialising institution for adolescents.

与社会变革同步的,是教育者的变化。借助“青春期”的概念,教育者们将美国公立高中重构为在变动的世界里维持民主理念、又能够满足移民与其余美国人需求的机构。约翰•杜威(John Dewey)尝试通过观察年轻学生的潜力来重振民主。这一思想激发了众多的教育改革者。为此,他们将美国高中改造为青少年的社会化机构。

On a much grander scale than the juvenile court, the publicly financed comprehensive high school became possibly the most distinctly American invention of the 20th century. As a democratic institution for all, not just a select few who had previously attended academies, it incorporated the visions of adolescence as a critically important period of personal development, and eventually came to define that period of life for the majority of Americans. In its creation, educators opened doors of educational opportunity while supervising rambunctious young people in an environment that was social as well as instructional. As the influential educational reformer Elbert Fretwell noted in 1931 about the growing extra-curricular realm that was essential to the new vision of US secondary schooling: ‘There must be joy, zest, active, positive, creative activity, and a faith that right is mighty and that it will prevail.’

公立综合高中比少年法庭规模更大,更可能成为美国二十世纪发明的象征。作为不止针对上过专科院校的少数群体、而是面向全体公众的民主机构,它把青春期的憧憬纳入个人发展中至关重要的时期,并最终为大多数美国人定义了这段时期的生活。在其创建过程中,教育者们大开教育机会之门,在兼具了社会和教育属性的环境里监管着吵吵嚷嚷的青少年。作为颇具影响力的教育改革家,艾伯特•弗雷韦(Elbert Fretwell)在1931年指出,日益增长的课外活动领域对美国中学教育的新愿景不可或缺:“必须要有欢乐、热情、活跃、积极、富于创造性的活动,以及‘正义强大、必将获胜’的信念。”

In order to accommodate the needs of a great variety of students – vastly compounded by the many different sources of immigration – the US high school moved rapidly from being the site of education in subjects such as algebra and Latin (the basis for most instruction in the 19th century US and elsewhere in the West) to becoming an institution where adolescents could learn vocational and business skills, and join sports teams, musical productions, language clubs and cooking classes. In Extra-Curricular Activities in the High School (1925), Charles R Foster concluded: ‘Instead of frowning, as in olden days, upon the desire of the young to act upon their own initiative, we have learned that only upon these varied instincts can be laid the surest basis for healthy growth … The school democracy must be animated by the spirit of cooperation, the spirit of freely working together for the positive good of the whole.’ School reformers set out to use the ‘cooperative’ spirit of peer groups and the diverse interests and energy of individuals to create the comprehensive US high school of the 20th century.

为满足大量来源各异的移民学生群体的各类需求,美国高中迅速从单纯的代数、拉丁语(十九世纪美国和西方各国的普遍教学基础)的教学单位,转型成为青少年学习职业和商务技能、参加体育竞技、音乐创作、语言俱乐部和烹饪课程的综合机构。在1925年的《高中生课外活动课程》(Extra-Curricular Activities in the High School)一书中,查尔斯•福斯特(Charles R Foster)总结道:“我们认识到,只有基于这些繁多的本能,才能为健康成长奠定最可靠的基础,而不能像过去那样,对青少年主动实践的欲望皱起眉头……校园民主必须以合作精神作为动力,而自由合作的精神是为了全体的积极利益。”学校改革者们开始利用同辈群体的“合作”精神、以及个体的多样兴趣和精力,创建起二十世纪的美式综合高中。

Educators opened wide the doors of the high school because they were intent on keeping students there for as long as possible. Eager to engage the attention of immigrant youth, urban high schools made many adjustments to the curriculum as well as to the social environment. Because second-generation immigrants needed to learn a new way of life, keeping them in school longer was one of the major aims of the transformed high school. They succeeded beyond all possible expectations. By the early 1930s, half of all US youth between 14 and 17 was in school; by 1940, it was 79 per cent: astonishing figures when compared with the single-digit attendance at more elite and academically focused institutions in the rest of the Western world.

教育者们洞开高中教育之门,是为了让学生尽可能长时间留在学校里。为吸引移民中的青少年群体,城市里的高中对教学课程和社会环境都做出了诸多改动。因为移民二代需要为生活找到新的出路,尽可能地延长他们的学习时长,是这些课改高中的主要目标之一。他们最终取得了出人意料的成功。上世纪30年代早期,美国14到17岁的青少年入学率接近一半;到了1940年,这一比例达到了79%。这是个惊人的数字——当时,拥有更多精英院校和重点学术高校的其余西方国家,青少年的入学率仅为个位数。

High schools brought young people together into an adolescent world that helped to obscure where they came from and emphasised who they were as an age group, increasingly known as teenagers. It was in the high schools of the US that adolescence found its home. And while extended schooling increased their dependence for longer periods of times, it was also here that young people created their own new culture. While its content – its clothing styles, leisure habits and lingo – would change over time, the common culture of teenagers provided the basic vocabulary that young people everywhere could recognise and identify with. Whether soda-fountain dates or school hops, jazz or rock’n’roll, rolled stockings or bobby sox, ponytails or duck-tail hairstyles – it defined the commonalities and cohesiveness of youth. By mid-century, high school was understood to be a ‘normal’ experience and the great majority of youth (of all backgrounds) were graduating from high schools, now a basic part of growing up in the US. It was ‘closer to the core of the American experience than anything else I can think of’, as the novelist Kurt Vonnegut concluded in an article for Esquire in 1970.

美国高中将年轻人引领到“青春期”的世界里,帮助他们模糊掉个人出身,强调他们同属于叫作“青少年“的年龄群体。青少年们终于在美式高中里找到了自身的归属。虽然长期的学校教育延长了青少年的依赖期,他们也因此创建了属于自身的新文化。尽管它包含的具体穿搭潮流、课余爱好和流行语会不断随着时间变化,共通的青少年文化提供了各地年轻人都能识别、认同的基本词汇。不论是汽水吧约会还是校园舞会,爵士乐或摇滚乐,长筒袜或是短袜,马尾或鸭尾发型,青少年文化定义了青少年的共通性与凝聚力。到了上世纪中叶,读高中成为了“普遍的”经历,背景各异的年轻人几乎都上过高中。念高中现在已经是美国青少年最基本的成长经历。正如库特•冯内古特(Kurt Vonnegut)1970年在写给《时尚先生》(Esquire)的文章中所说,高中生活“比其它任何经历都更接近美式生活的核心。”

The high school was a critical part of how second-generation immigrants were incorporated into the US mainstream

美国公立高中是移民子女融入主流社会的重要途径

With their distinctive music and clothing styles, US adolescents had also become the envy of young people around the world, according to Jon Savage in Teenage (2007). They embodied not just a stage of life, but a state of privilege – the privilege not to work, the right to be supported for long periods of study, the possibility of future success. US adolescents basked in the wealth of their society, while for the rest of the world the US promise was personified by its adolescents. Neither the country’s high schools nor its adolescents were easily imitated elsewhere because both rested on the unique prosperity of the 20th-century US economy and the country’s growing cultural power. It was an expensive proposition that was supported even at the depth of the Great Depression. But it paid off in the skills of a population who graduated from school, not educated in Latin and Greek texts (the norm in lycées and gymnasia elsewhere), but where the majority were sufficiently proficient in mathematics, English and rudimentary science to make for an unusually literate and skilled population.

据乔•萨维奇(Jon Savage)出版于2007年的《青少年》(Teenage)一书所说,美国青少年借助他们独到的音乐品味和穿搭潮流,成了全世界年轻人嫉妒的对象。他们所展现的不止是一个特殊的人生阶段,更表明了自身所拥有的种种特权:他们无需工作糊口,有父母支持进行长期学业,还有成为人生赢家的可能。美国青少年心安理得地享受着社会财富,同时也成了美国理念的拟人化象征。别的地区很难重现这样的美式高中和青少年群体,因为这两者都有赖于二十世纪美国经济的一枝独秀和文化实力的与日俱增。尽管耗资甚巨,这样的理念却在大萧条时期也得到了有力支持。最终,美式高中为大量人口提供了职业技能;他们虽然没有受过拉丁语和希腊语的教育(这在别的西方国家教学中是必修的),但多数人掌握了数学、英语和基础科学,造就了非比寻常的高素质、高技能人口。

Above all, these adolescents had been guided through school for long periods of time while being encouraged to be independent in their many school activities and choices, a combination that fostered creativity and underwrote optimism about the future. The high school attached itself to the values of independence that Americans had come to value for themselves, while it carefully supervised its charges. Some immigrant parents initially resisted what they saw as a loss of control over their older children – both their children’s financial contribution and the potential alienation from their home cultures that high-school life enforced – but, in the end, Americans of almost all backgrounds participated. The high school, with its elaborate youth culture, was a critical part of how second-generation immigrants were incorporated into the US mainstream.

最关键的是,这些青少年接受了长期的学校指导,同时又被鼓励在众多校园活动和选择中秉持独立性,这样的结合培养了他们的创造力,让他们对未来保持乐观。在谨慎把控自身职责的同时,美式高中将美国人所标榜的独立价值观融入其中。部分移民父母起初对这种“失控”的教育方式表示抵触,他们不愿看到子女接受高中教育导致的家庭收入减少、对传统文化的疏远;可是最终,几乎所有背景的美国人都接受了高中教育。美式高中所拥有的精致的青年文化,是移民二代融入美国社会主流的关键。

By the last third of the 20th century, the US high school had produced several generations of graduates and became a familiar and unifying family experience. Parents looked back on their own school life as a guide to what they might expect from their adolescent children. While adolescents could present special problems associated with sexuality, high schools also helped to guide parents through these shoals. The high school served as a guardian institution, keeping children off the streets and under the supervision of nurses, guidance counsellors (and sometimes mental health professionals) as well as coaches and other mentors. Parents, including immigrants new to the high-school experience, had also learned how to handle their sometimes unruly teenagers. Until the 1970s, many high schools also monitored sexuality by expelling pregnant girls (and those suspected of sexual activity) from school, thus enforcing guidelines that set sexual limits and defined a common propriety. By sponsoring proms and other social events, schools set norms of gender behaviour.

二十世纪后半叶,美国高中已经培育出数代毕业生,高中生活成了他们熟悉而相似的成长经历。父母们回顾自己的高中生活,将其作为对青春期子女的期望。即使青少年可能制造出性相关的特殊问题,学校也有助于引导父母脱离困境。高中承担了监护机构的角色,让孩子远离街头,在看护、辅导员(甚至心理医师)以及教练和其他导师的监督下成长。包括首次接触到此类高中生活的初代移民在内的父母,也学会了怎样和有时不听话的青春期子女相处。直到上世纪七十年代,许多高中还将开除掉怀孕女生(也包括其他性行为参与者)作为监管学生性行为的手段,以此强化限制性行为的准则,从而制定公共守则。再通过举办校园舞会和其他校园社交活动,学校最终创建了学生的异性交往规范。

If high schools helped parents to handle their teenage children, the peer society of school helped adolescents handle their parents, since it provided them with an excuse for staying out after school and on weekends. And it legitimated various kinds of dating activity. Going to sports events or musical performances, working on the newspaper or in a club occupied non-school time with friends, effectively keeping parents at bay. It was an excellent bargain. One that the mid-century psychologist Erik Erikson believed provided a moratorium on adulthood as adolescents learned to define who they were and what they believed in. They were at once dependent and independent, not children and not adults. Erikson took some of the same qualities that had inspired Hall and the founders of the juvenile court and the US high school, and attached a new label to the seeking for affiliation and for excitement that was associated with adolescents. This was the ‘identity crisis’, and parents were encouraged to give their children space to work through it.

如果说高中协助了父母对付他们的青春期子女,学生协会则帮助了青少年应付父母,为他们提供课后和周末不回家的借口,让各种约会活动合情合理。参加体育比赛或音乐表演、加入报刊创作或社团活动,都让青少年得以逃离父母掌控、和死党享受课外时光。这是笔不错的交易。上世纪中叶,心理学家埃里克•埃里克森(Erik Erikson)认为,在成年前提供一段缓冲期,有助于青少年认识到自身定位和信念所在。青少年是既独立又依赖的,既不是儿童也不是成人。埃里克森继承了些许霍尔和少年法庭及美国高中创立者的理念,为青少年对归属感的寻求和对刺激的渴望打上了新的标签:“身份认同危机”。父母最好留给孩子足够的空间去解决这个问题。

By the end of the 20th century, however, the special role of adolescence in US culture began to fall apart. Global competition was making skills acquired in high school obsolete as higher levels of schooled certification became necessary in the workplace. The longtime educational advantage of the US and the competence of its students was challenged as other nations prospered and offered their children schooling that was often superior when measured by international scores. New immigrants, who began to arrive in the US in large numbers in the 1970s, were less well-integrated into high schools as schools re-segregated, leaving Latino immigrants, for example, in underperforming schools.

然而,二十世纪末期,青春期在美国文化中的特殊作用开始瓦解。竞争全球化使得高中教授的技能过时,求职需要更高水平的学位证书。美国长期以来的教育优势及学生能力遭受了挑战,与此同时其他国家开始走向繁荣,并为本国儿童提供在国际评分上优于美国的教育。上世纪七十年代,新移民开始大量涌入美国。但随着学校的再分化,他们未能很好地融入高中生活:例如,拉美移民主要就读于垫底的学校。

High schools, long a glory of US education and a product of democratic culture, had lost their central social role. Graduation, once the final step for most Americans on the road to work and steady relationships leading to marriage, no longer marked a significant end point on the way to maturity. It provided neither an effective transition to adulthood nor a valuable commodity for aspiring youth, and was an impediment to those who dropped out. Going to college became a necessary part of middle-class identity, and this complicated the completion of adolescence for everyone. Now that college was held up as essential to economic success, the failure to go to college portended an inadequate adulthood.

作为长期以来美国教育的骄傲和美式民主的产物,美国公立高中丧失了曾经的重要社会地位。高中毕业,曾是众多美国人迈向职场和稳固婚姻前的最后一步,但它也不再是青少年全面成熟的终点标志了。它既不能为成年提供有效的过渡,也不能为有志青年提供宝贵的财富,甚至成了辍学人群的障碍。上大学成了中产阶级的必选项,每个人的青春旅程因而变得愈加复杂。读大学已被认为是成功的必要条件,没念过大学则意味着成年的缺失。

The extension of necessary schooling into the 20s (and sometimes even into the 30s) strongly attenuated the relationship between a stage of physical maturation (puberty) and the social experiences to which it had been attached in the concept of adolescence. And active sexuality, which had been held at bay by a high-school life defined by dating, now intruded earlier and earlier into the lives of the young, while marriage was increasingly delayed. Adolescence was no longer an adequate description of this long postponement of adulthood. It never had been more than an in-between stage, meant to comprise a moratorium of a few years. Americans floundered to find a term to cover the new postponement of maturity. The best they have come up with is Jeffrey Arnett’s ‘emerging adulthood’.

必要的学校教育被延长到20岁甚至30岁,大大削弱了生理成熟(青春期)与社会经验间的联系,但“青春期”的概念本是依附于社会经验存在的。积极的性行为曾被以约会为特征的高中生活严加管束,现在则越来越早地侵入到青少年的生活中,而婚姻却日益推迟。对成年的长久推延不再适于用“青春期”来简单概括。它从来都只是意味着数年的缓冲期的中间阶段。美国人试图找到新的术语来涵盖推迟成熟的新阶段,他们所想到的最恰当是的杰弗里•阿内特(Jeffrey Arnett)的“准成年时期”(emerging adulthood)。

译注:又译“成人初显期”。

Where 19th-century childhood was a magical kingdom of talking animals and ‘little people’, children’s minds could now be filled with dystopian fantasies of sex and violence

19世纪的童年是童话王国;21世纪的童年是性与暴力的反乌托邦

As the upper boundary on adolescence disappeared, the lower boundary was also shifting. Over the course of the 20th century, the age of sexual maturity for girls had steadily declined. Set in the mid-teens early in the century, it reached an average of 12.5 years by the 1970s, with many girls experiencing it when even younger. At the same time, a publicly sexualised culture began to make parents of children as young as eight worry about their children’s early exposure to highly provocative clothing styles, music videos and video games.

随着青春上限一同消失的,还有它的下限。经过了整个二十世纪,女性的性成熟年龄稳步下降。上世纪早期,女生的平均性成熟年龄还在十四五岁;到了七十年代,就已经成了12.5岁,不少女孩甚至在更年幼的时候就已经性成熟。与此同时,开放的性文化甚至会让8岁孩童的父母们感到担忧,因为孩子可能过早地接触到了极具挑逗性的服装风格、音乐电视和电子游戏。

By the 1990s, the internet made all previous attempts to protect the innocence of children from premature knowledge of adult matters obsolete. Initial attempts to attach age-appropriate labels to movies and music (or keep risky television programmes to later hours) became irrelevant as the computer and, later, hand-held devices opened up the world to the eyes of children whenever they chose. By the 1990s, as a mark of their new sexual autonomy, girls as young as 14 could have abortions without their parents’ consent. Where the 19th century had dwelled on the fantasyland of childhood as a magical kingdom of talking animals, good witches and ‘little people’, children’s minds could now be filled with dystopian fantasies of sex and violence.

到了九十年代,互联网的普及让此前所有保护儿童纯真、不要过早接触成人事物的努力化为泡影。人们起初尝试给电影和音乐进行年龄段分级、或是把少儿不宜的节目留到深夜播出,但随之而来的电脑和移动设备还是让儿童们大开眼界、百无禁忌。在九十年代,作为性独立的标杆,14岁的女孩就可以不经父母同意进行堕胎。十九世纪的儿童幻想国满是会说话的动物、善良的女巫和“小矮人”的神奇国度;当代儿童的脑海中却可能充斥着性与暴力的反乌托邦狂想。

Extending the protections of childhood to a later age, as adolescence had for much of the 20th century, now made no sense since childhood itself was no longer innocent and easily protected. And trying to shield youngsters from responsibility for certain kinds of crimes (that were related to their age), as the juvenile court tried to do, also seemed beside the point. Smoking and loitering on the streets to play dice had been an alarming expression of rambunctious youth in the early 20th century. By the end of that century, Americans and the world witnessed teenagers killing other teenagers, as they did at Columbine High School in Colorado.

童年不再纯真、守护起来也困难重重,再次效仿二十世纪的惯用手法,将对童年的庇护延迟到更晚的岁数已是徒劳。如同少年法庭所做的,试图让青少年免于与年龄相关的特定刑罚,似乎也不是重点。二十世纪初期,抽烟、游荡在街头玩骰子就已经是不良少年引人担忧的表现;到了世纪末,科伦拜中学枪击案则让全美国及全世界目睹了青少年间的互相残杀。

译注:1999年4月20日,科罗拉多州科伦拜中学(Columbine High School)的两名学生埃里克•哈里斯(Eric Harris)和迪兰•克莱伯德(Dylan Klebold)携枪械与爆炸物进入校园,枪杀12名学生和1名教师,造成其余24人受伤,两人随即自杀身亡,系上世纪最血腥的校园枪击案件。

Although we still use the term ‘adolescence’, its cultural signals are mostly irrelevant. It no longer describes the period of training required to function as an adult in the 21st century, nor does it distinguish the boundary between the knowledge of children from those who have reached puberty. For parents, adolescence is an untrustworthy way to understand how their teenage children mature: they cannot clearly connect the sexual practices of their young progeny to stable mating in marriage, nor can parents see how schooling during adolescence will lead their offspring to satisfactory adult work. The idea of a tentative moratorium that gets resolved once teenagers create stable identities seems far-fetched, since the identities of even those in their 20s and sometimes their 30s are still in flux. Some have blamed helicopter parenting for the long delay in maturity, but regardless of its specific role, the path to adulthood has become much more tangled and uncertain.

虽然我们仍然在用“青春期”这个词,但它的文化内涵已无足轻重。它无法描述二十一世纪成为成年人所要满足的训练时期,也无法明确儿童和生理初步开始发育的人群之间的界限。对父母而言,“青春期”不足以解释子女身上发生的变化:他们从年轻子女的性行为中看不到将来婚姻中的稳定结合,也不理解青春期的教育如何能够指引子女在成年后获得满意的工作。“青少年一旦有了明确的定位,就能走向成熟”的想法似乎不切实际,因为那些已经20岁、甚至30岁的人,自我定位往往也在不断变动。一些人指责直升机父母是儿童发育迟缓的祸首,但不管事实是否如此,通往成年的道路已变得更加曲折无定。

译注:“直升机父母”,指像直升机一般始终围绕在子女身边、一刻不停监管着的父母。

There has been no effective substitute for the coherence once provided by the idea of adolescence and its two most compelling democratic institutions: the public high school and the juvenile court. The hopeful elements embedded in adolescence – the belief that youthful energy can be enlisted toward public goods – has also evaporated, as even well-off middle-class parents worry about their children’s future prospects.

青春期及其最引人注意的两个民主机构——公立高中和少年法庭——曾经为青少年提供了成长中的连贯性,但现在没有任何有效的代替机构。随着富裕的中产家庭父母也担忧起孩子的前途,青春期所蕴含的希望元素——青春活力可以用于促进公共事业的信念——也消失了。

While colleges and universities have extended educational training, they remain reluctant to provide the close supervision once offered by high schools, in good part because college students are presumably adults. As a result, students are largely on their own, sexually and socially. The sexual revolution of the 1970s removed most parietal regulations that once governed standards of behaviour (especially for young women) in such matters as sex and alcohol consumption. However, in recent years, college professionals have begun to fill the breach, expanding the office of the deans of students so as to offer greater guidance and practical help in response to extreme episodes of drunkenness and publicity about rape on campus. Universities are becoming alert to the ways in which college life is turning into the latest version of the high school, and are more responsive to legal and parental pressures. It might be possible to stretch the concept of ‘adolescence’ to apply to the lives of undergraduates, as going to college becomes part of growing up for youth in the US.

虽然各高等院校已经加强了教育培训,但很大程度由于学生们都已经成年了,所以仍然不怎么对学生进行高中式的密切监管。由此,不管是性交还是社交,学生们都开始自主掌控。七十年代的性革命废除了大多数限制性行为和饮酒等行为规范(尤其是针对少女)的校规。然而,近年来,业内人士开始着手对此进行管控,逐步扩大教导主任的职能,对酗酒滋事和校园强奸案等极端案例提供更强大的指导和切实帮助。高校开始警惕大学生活转变成高中生活的延续,并对来自法律和父母的压力更为敏感。随着上大学成为美国年轻人成长的一部分,“青春期”的概念或许可以延伸到大学生活中。

Adolescence was a term that fit the times. As a prescribed norm, it influenced the vast majority of youth between the ages of 13 and 19, whose lived experience was nurtured by a high-school culture that reproduced the same teenage experience throughout the US. Today, more and more young people’s lives do not fit the contours of adolescence, and the institutions of the 20th century have become worn and dated. Parents are left without the intellectual resources to understand how their teenagers and 20-somethings will manage in a future that seems ever more unlike their own. Without clear boundaries and a solid content, adolescence as a meaningful experience is on the road to disappearing in the US.

“青春期”曾是个应运而生的词。作为既定规范,它影响了绝大多数13至19岁的青少年。同一种高中文化培育了这些青少年的生活经历,并在美国各地不断复制类似的青少年生活。可在当下,越来越多的年轻人的生活不再符合“青春期”的印象,来自二十世纪的规范已然陈旧过时。缺乏了理论储备,父母们难以理解作为青少年的子女和那些毛都没长齐的青年要怎么把握“与众不同”的未来。丧失了明确的分界和坚实的内涵,曾经意义重大的“青春期”,正在美国走向消亡。

原文链接:https://aeon.co/essays/adolescence-is-no-longer-a-bridge-between-childhood-and-adult-life

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点评

在大多数人的生活经验中,“童年”或是“未成年”这样的词汇,是纯真无邪和青春活力的代名词。然而,这些曾经象征希望和未来的,“八九点钟的太阳”,在新的时代或许需要重新被审视。这几年里,“未成年人”的暴力犯罪屡见报端,让人触目惊心,公众也开始质疑,《未成年保护法》是否成为了“免罪金牌”。在法律层面上,如何惩治和预防这样的低龄化犯罪自然是一个复杂的问题,但我们不妨从“未成年”的概念进行反思。

在信息爆炸的新时代,“未成年”和“成年”的界限究竟在哪里?“儿童”的纯真心灵的或许已并不如从前般坚固,而那些在20岁乃至30岁仍没有渡过“身份认同”危机,没有思考清楚自身在社会中位置的“成年人”又是否真正“成年”了呢?这些问题,或许现在也很难寻得答案,但反思永远是变革的先声。

2019年7月24日

罗玉池

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参考阅读:

《童年的消逝》:波兹曼早在上个世纪八十年代就关注到了新媒介与“童年”的创生与消亡之间的关系。在他看来,“童年”和“成人”的区别是由印刷术所发明的“鸿沟”,而电视时代,信息在成人与儿童之间共享,界限由此模糊。

https://book.douban.com/subject/26319794/

《所谓的童年,真的是一个一成不变的概念吗?》:另一篇从国外的未成年犯罪延伸到中国情况的讨论。“在中国,许多法律人士引用近年来发生的多起恶性青少年犯罪案例,要求降低刑事责任年龄。但官方的数据则显示,整体上的青少年犯罪率并没有明显的上升。而在中国文化中,也有体恤儿童的传统,父母也往往会以“孩子还小,不懂事”来为孩子们犯的错误开脱,这也与当下许多人认为孩子通过互联网接触大量信息并且相对早熟的认知相悖。就青少年犯罪和刑事责任年龄这个问题而言,中国还远远没有到达成共识的地步。“

https://m.qdaily.com/mobile/articles/57608.html

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