Barry Aboubacar – The meaning of rites during adolescence

The increasing number of requests for the institutional management of adolescents indicates either that adolescent crises have become more severe, or that the present forms of family organization render these families incompetent to manage the adolescents by themselves. This demand may be explained in part by the lack of procedures marking the passage to adulthood. Much adolescent behavior, in fact, re-enacts failed attempts at initiation rites. Work with adolescents can only be enriched and improved by knowledge of rites of passage practiced by traditional societies. The framework for containing violence and sexuality offered by these rites, the procedures for affiliation with the adult world which they implement, the re-elaboration of the symbolic which they impel, etc., make it possible to shed light on certain barriers that confront institutions for adolescents on a regular basis.

Adolescence, septembre 2002, 20, 3, 489-498