Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids: American Teenagers, Schools, and the Culture of Consumption / Edition 1

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Overview

In this timely and insightful book, award-winning sociologist Murray Milner tries to understand why teenagers behave the way they do. Drawing upon two years of intensive fieldwork in one high school and 300 written interviews about high schools across the country, he argues that consumer culture has greatly impacted the way our youth relate to one another and understand themselves and society. He also suggests that the status systems in high schools are in and of themselves an important contributing factor to the creation and maintenance of consumer capitalism explaining the importance of designer jeans and designer drugs in an effort to be the coolest kid in the class.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Countless books are written about the world of the teenager, but this one is unique in its discussion of the link between teen status systems and consumer culture. Milner (Inst. for Advanced Studies in Culture, Univ. of Virginia; Status and Sacredness) contends that teens develop complex status systems to cope with the lack of power and choice they face in the institutional setting of their schools, whether public, private, or alternative. These systems, which operate similarly to Indian castes, provide a source of power and rank among peers. Milner argues that peer interaction is a key determiner to teen behavior, more significant than parenting styles, educational opportunities, or media campaigns. He explains that status systems thrive on symbols and consumerism patterns. And while teens are groomed to be consumers by adult modeling, they are also frequently the drivers of product development, as marketing research testifies. Thus, Milner argues, consumer culture is inextricably linked with the social patterns of teenagers. This scholarly study, based on two years of fieldwork with teens in one school and written interviews with teens in schools around the country, is recommended for students, researchers, and educators.-Lori Carabello, Ephrata P.L., PA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415948302
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 3/2/2004
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Murray Milner, Jr. is Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. His book, Status and Sacredness, won the 1996 Distinguished Publication Award from the American Sociological Association.

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Table of Contents

Part I: The Puzzle And The Tools Introduction 1. Why Do They Behave Like That? 2. The Tools fro Understanding Part II: Explaining Teens' Behavior 3. Fitting In, Standing Out and Keeping Up 4. Steering clear, Hanging Out and Hooking Up 5. Exchanges, Labels and Put downs Part III: Why Schools Vary 6. The Pluralistic High School 7. Other Kinds of Schools Part IV: Teen Status Systems and Consumerism 8. Creating Consumers 9. Consuming Life 10. Conclusions and Implications Appendix I: Theory of Status Relations : Elaborations Appendix II: Data and Methods Appendix III: Sample Research Materials

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