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

By Murray Milner Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TEN

Conclusions and Implications

Only a people trained to accept the license of sheer fantasy could actually believe that extending adolescence into middle age was a recipe for happiness.

-David Bosworth, 1996

FROM THE LUNCHROOM: [A girl complains], "When students have problems with other students, the teachers do nothing to stop the harassment." It is obvious from this comment that she is very concerned with the way these individuals are treating her and that she feels like she has no one to turn to. 1

I immediately noticed a sour attitude among most of the girls as I sat down. This was surprising because it was Friday, and normally they are in a very good mood on Fridays… I asked what was the matter… Marcy told me that Leesha and Penny had been caught returning to school from Best Bagels by one of the administrators. They [had] asked the substitute [teacher] for a pass and said they were going "out" and wouldn't be too long. They Left in Leesha's car…and picked up lunch for themselves and for Marcy. As they were returning [to] school, one of the administrators saw them… Marcy [said] that the administrator came up to her and told her that her sister, Penny, had been suspended for two games of softball. Leesha was worried that she would be suspended for two tennis matches. They were trying to figure out how to get out of it. Leesha decided that since the administrator had not seen them leave or come back, but only returning with the Best Bagels bag, that they should deny everything. The rest of the girls told her that this was not a good idea… Penny and Leesha had gone to talk to the administrator who turned them in. They were very relieved [to find out] that he was just kidding… He hadn't reported them and just wanted to teach them

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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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