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The role fashion plays in peer group relationships

1 January 1996


Researchers in sociology and psychology have pointed out the need for people to felt a sense of belonging to a certain group, and also a need to be able to deviate from that group to claim individuality. This has become an issue for those in education because of the negative effects that clothing often creates among relationships. Students often feel pressure from peers to dress in certain fashionable ways that communicate to others that they belong . Unfortunately, the lack of fashionable clothing has caused theft of others' goods, nastiness among peers and jealousy by those without the proper group attire. Concerns about this issue have prompted some school officials to consider and even implement mandatory school uniforms in an attempt to eliminate these negative results. This qualitative study looked at the roles that clothes may play in peer groups in one fourth grade classroom by observing students on the playground and in the classroom and also by interviewing students on their perceptions of fashion and mandatory uniforms. The findings indicate that clothes did not influence this classroom in the way that previous research may have predicted. Therefore, it seems that other factors such as the classroom structure and management may help eliminate the possible negative results that clothes are capable of providing.


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