This introductory chapter first sets out the purpose of the book, which is to examine the contested nature of policy and practice concerned with the identification and management of risk in the lives of the young. It illustrates the varying ways in which society constructs and reconstructs the definitions and parameters of risk from birth to early adulthood. The chapter addresses a number of themes that illustrate the ambiguities and tensions inherent in current policy and practice regarding children and young people. It then discusses growing up and the perception and experience of risks, categorising risk, the ‘risk society’, and the position of children and young people within risk discourse. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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