Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids: American Teenagers, Schools, and the Culture of Consumption


In Freaks, Geeks and Cool Kids , award-winning-sociologist Murray Milner draws upon two years of intensive fieldwork in one high school and 300 written interviews about high school life across the USA. What he discovers through their stories is that high schools are breeding grounds for status consciousness and 'keeping up with the Joneses' mentality. Milner argues that the importance of who sits at which lunch table, who goes to the prom with whom and who makes the cheerleading squad or football team, as well as what jeans, sneakers and t-shirts one wears, are essential for teenagers to distinguish themselves from one another. As teens use status objects to define themselves, they both become the trendsetters for the culture at large and are also compelled to buy into the trends to look cool. In other words, 'being cool' may come at a price, but it is one that teens are more than willing to pay.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 2004


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