Producing Success: The Culture of Personal Advancement in an American High School

Producing Success: The Culture of Personal Advancement in an American High School

by Peter Demerath
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0226142418

ISBN-13: 9780226142418

Pub. Date: 12/15/2009

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Middle- and upper-middle-class students continue to outpace those from less privileged backgrounds. Most attempts to redress this inequality focus on the issue of access to financial resources, but as Producing Success makes clear, the roots of this problem go deeper than mere economics. In this eye-opening study, Peter Demerath examines a typical suburban American

Overview

Middle- and upper-middle-class students continue to outpace those from less privileged backgrounds. Most attempts to redress this inequality focus on the issue of access to financial resources, but as Producing Success makes clear, the roots of this problem go deeper than mere economics. In this eye-opening study, Peter Demerath examines a typical suburban American high school to explain how some students get ahead.

Demerath undertook four years of research at a Midwestern public high school, observing the mercilessly competitive culture that drives students to advance. Producing Success reveals the many ways the community's ideology of achievement plays out. Students hone their work ethics as they employ a variety of strategies to succeed, from negotiating with teacher to cheating. Parents relentlessly push their children while manipulating school policies to help them get ahead. And school administrators assist high achievers in myriad ways, even naming over forty students valedictorians. Yet, as Demerath shows, this unswerving commitment to individual advancement takes its toll, leading to student stress and fatigue, incivility and vandalism, and the alienation of the less successful. Insightful and candid, Producing Success is an often troubling account of the educationally and morally questionable results of the American culture of success.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226142418
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
12/15/2009
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
871,510
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: Producing Success 1

Part 1 Community, Home, and School Settings

1 The Wilton Way: Middle-Class Culture and Practice 27

2 Parental Support, Intervention, and Policy Manipulation 48

3 The Role of the School: Institutional Advantaging 63

Part 2 Student Identity and Practice

4 Identities for Control and Success: The Acquisition of Psychological Capital 85

5 Teaching the "Point-Hungry" Student: Hypercredentialing in Practice 103

Part 3 Costs of Personal Advancement

6 "Generation Stress" and School Success 129

7 Alienation, Marginalization, and Incivility 152

8 Conclusions 169

Appendix: WBHS 2002 Student Survey 185

Notes 191

References 195

Index 203

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