Young people grow up in varied circumstances with different priorities and perspectives. While youth does not exist as a single group we need to understand what is happening in young people's lives. Rethinking Youth challenges the conventional wisdoms surrounding the position and opportunities of young people today and provides a systematic overview of the major perspectives in youth studies. The authors demonstrate how the concept of youth involves a tension between the social significance of age, which gives young people a common status, and the significance of social divisions. Drawing upon studies from different societies, they examine debates surrounding youth and economy, youth development, youth subcultures, youth transitions and youth marginalisation. Rethinking Youth offers a provocative critique of mainstream conceptions of youth, the programs and strategies designed for 'at risk' young people, and policy development in youth affairs. It calls for greater sensitivity to the complexities of youth, and greater emphasis on democracy and equality in dealing with the problems experienced by young people in a rapidly changing world. Johanna Wyn is Director of the Youth Research Centre at the University of Melbourne. Rob White lectures in Criminology at the University of Melbourne.