Several studies of adolescence have been published recently ; their viewpoints differ significantly. This critical overview presents the debate launched by these publications on the place of contemporary adolescence and how it should be interpreted sociologically. Continuing in the vein of his previous works, François de Singly’s book on « adonaissants » [adolescents in the process of being « born »] presents a reading of this period in the life cycle in identity terms ; its central theme is adolescents’ non-conflictual oscillation between family-related identity and peer group-related identity. Singly’s vision is ultimately quite optimistic. Other studies, such as Dominique Pasquier’s on French high school student cultures, presents a grimmer and fairly divergent picture. Focused more on peer groups, these studies brings to light the increasing cultural distance between the world of adolescents and the world of adults and the school. This review essay also examines the impact that a new kind of adolescent autonomy may have had on relations between parents and children in families of different social backgrounds, relating this to classical studies of child-raising models and their finding of an « authoritarian » style for the working-class and a « negotiation » approach for the middle and upper classes.