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

By Murray Milner Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SEVEN

Other Kinds of Schools

…some speak of the way the "social atmosphere" of the school provides a "hidden curriculum," but the nature and influence of this "atmosphere" are at best nebulous… [These commentators] proceed without any robust understanding of the nature, power, and dynamic of institutions…[and] are thoroughly inattentive to the independent yet powerful moral influences of the media, the market economy, and the contemporary political culture and how they interact with the consciousness of children and the culture of the schools themselves.

-James Davison Hunter, 2000

FROM THE LUNCHROOM: Marsha [who is black] talked about the possibility of going to [a local conservative Christian academy or one of the county high schools]. She waxed eloquent about the beautiful pool at the new high school. Jane [who is white] said to her, "Think about who you would be with. There are going to be a bunch of racist rednecks in that school." 1

Most students in the United States attend relatively large public schools; the focus thus far has been primarily on such schools. This chapter looks at schools that are atypical in some respect: military academies, a school for the upper classes, public schools in small towns, schools on small military bases, and religiously-oriented schools. The point is to look for schools in which the pattern of status relations among students might be different from those that we have considered so far.


THE "MILITARY" ACADEMY

Some schools self-consciously create official and semi-official status differences and suppress attempts of students to create other kinds of status dis-

-131-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Part I - The Puzzle and the Tools 1
  • Introduction 3
  • Chapter One - Why Do They Behave like That? 13
  • Chapter Two - The Tools for Understanding 27
  • Part II - Explaining Teens' Behavior 37
  • Chapter Three - Fitting In, Standing Out, and Keeping Up 39
  • Chapter Four - Steering Clear, Hanging Out, and Hooking Up 61
  • Chapter Five - Exchanges, Labels, and Put-Downs 81
  • Part III - Why Schools Vary 97
  • Chapter Six - The Pluralistic High School 99
  • Chapter Seven - Other Kinds of Schools 131
  • Part IV - Teen Status Systems and Consumerism 153
  • Chapter Eight - Creating Consumers 155
  • Chapter Nine - Consuming Life 171
  • Chapter Ten - Conclusions and Implications 181
  • Appendix I 203
  • Appendix II 217
  • Appendix III 223
  • Notes 239
  • Bibliography 285
  • Index 299
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