What is ISTAR?

ISTAR is an international network of researchers collaborating with professionals from multidisciplinary standpoints, focusing on the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Around the world societies vary in the formality of practices to signify and aid the transitions of adolescence. Where indigenous culture is strong, various forms of traditional initiation rites may have been preserved in that traditional knowledge, and can be used to assist in creating a map for contemporary youth to navigate the troubled waters of adolescence. Rapid societal changes have impacted on the relevance of traditional rites. The experience of indigenous people caught in the confrontation between traditional and emerging adolescent transition practices is of great interest to investigators in this project. However, the research problem is not exclusive to indigenous people. It affects all cultures around the world. It is hoped that the outcome from this research network can be used to further enhance the map for modern youth to navigate these troubled waters. This is an acute challenge in the 21st century.

The entry point into conception of this project was concerns about increased problems around adolescents’ sexual and mental health and the potential future impact this might have on our society. Trying to influence children’s transition to adulthood is a complex medical, psychological, sociological and educational challenge that requires us to understand the pedagogical principles of transition and (to use and old term) initiation rites for young adolescent to communicate abstract ideas of social and physical well-being to young people not always equipped to understand abstracted futures thinking. Thus, we have taken a holistic view and created this multi-professional, international research network.

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