"Adult investigators are apt to investigate either their own problems with regard to young people or, more generally, the problems which adults experience so far as the younger generation is concerned, not problems which confront, and which are experienced by the young generation itself

The central problem arises from the fact that a complex society such as ours requires customarily a prolonged period of indirect preparation and training for adult life. By indirect I mean from the age of 5 to 14,15 or 16, the growing up children of our society are trained for their adult tasks in special institutions which we call schools, where they learn, where they acquire the knowledge about the adult world past, present and future not by direct contact with it, but largely from books. Their actual knowledge of the adult world, their only contacts with adults, are relatively limited

  communal ceremonies of passage formerly attached to the transition from childhood to adulthood have completely lapsed." (pp.1-2)

source:

John Goodwin and Henrietta O'Connor: Forty Years On: Norbert Elias and the Young Worker Project. CLMS Working Paper No 35 (Centre for Labour Market Studies, University of Leicester), pp. 13, 17