Emerging adulthood is a new stage of life that falls in between adolescence and adulthood. It is the age of identity exploration, instablity, self-focus, "in-betweeness", and possibilities.
Arnett, the coiner of the term emerging adulthood, describes this life stage by saying: “It tends to be an age of high hopes and great expectations, in part because few of their dreams have been tested in the fires of real life” (Arnett 2000).
The sociology of emerging adulthood begins with a social understanding of the life course. Mayer (2009) states: "Life course development is analyzed as the outcome of personal characteristics and individual action as well as of cultural frames and institutional and structural conditions (relating micro, meso, and macro levels of analysis, structure, and agency)."