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A culture of their own: The peer culture in the middle school

9 December 1992


This qualitative study attempts to provide a picture of an adolescent peer culture in a single homeroom at the middle school level. Elliot Eisner's (1991) foundation of qualitative research has been the focus of this project. The conceptual framework of the research has been from the writings and research of William Corsaro, (1988, 1990) an educational sociologist, and George Kneller, (1965) an educational anthropologist. It was with anthropological and sociological perspective in mind that the following question was investigated: what does the adolescent peer culture look like at the middle school level? This peer culture study observed a homeroom classroom of sixth, seventh and eight grade, interviewes the students and the homeroom teacher and analysed a homeroom study adminstered to the students by the homeroom teacher. This research attempts to explain and describe the most important componenets of the adolescent peer culture. This peer culture's way of living was clearly structured by others outside of the culture. This culture, although dominated by a smaller group of higher status individuals, was clearly in the beginning stages of moving from a random, non-cohesive group of people into that of a true culture with shared meanings, values and mores. For all educators, this study reveals important information about the covert and overt influence teachers and administrators have over students.


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