Juggling the Many Voices Inside: What It Means to Be an Emerging Adult


Juggling the Many Voices Inside: What It Means to Be an Emerging Adult


Richard Morehouse1, Merel Visse2, Brian Singer-Towns3, John Vitek4

1Professor Emeritus Viterbo University/Praxis 1706 North Salem Road, La Crosse, WI 54603; 2Associate Professor of Care Ethics University of Humanistic Studies, Department of Care Eth-ics, Kromme Nieuwegracht 29, 3512 HD Utrecht, the Netherlands; 3Special Projects Director, Saint Mary’s Press 702 Terrace Heights, Winona, MN  55987; 4President, Saint Mary’s Press 702 Terrace Heights, Winona, MN  55987


Psychiatric Research and Reviews1

Background: Our late modern society has a focus on self-realization, managerialism and instrumental reasoning. A logic of choice dominates the lives of emerging adults. They are focused on “self-managing” their lives. Although many emerging adults can “flourish”, others are “floundering,” struggling with anxiety or lower self-perceptions. Theories on self-realization which focus on a capability or self-determination approach seem inadequate for understanding this reality.

Aim: This article critically examines what it means to be an emerging adult in late modern society. It aims to counterbalance the dominant theories of self-realization by exploring a dialogical view on the “self”. It pays attention to the voices of the “selves” of emerging adults, including the internalized voice of society itself.

Method: A narrative approach was followed. First, an interpretive narrative study was carried out with female respondents. The study employed in-depth focus group and individual interviews and the transcripts of the interviews were then analyzed thematically. We further analyzed the data according to the Listening Guide Approach.

Findings: Self-realization is a dynamic relational and moral process. The findings illustrate the multiple voices and I-positions of emerging adults. In addition, the findings illustrate that in addition to agency, “passive receptivity” also plays an important role in the process of becoming an emerging adult.


Keywords: emerging adults, narrative, dialogical self, self-realization, listening guide, passive receptivity


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How to cite this article:
Richard Morehouse, Merel Visse, Brian Singer-Towns, John Vitek. Juggling the Many Voices Inside: What It Means to Be an Emerging Adult. International Journal of Psychological Research and Reviews, 2019, 2:13. DOI: 10.28933/ijprr-2019-04-2105


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