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Sociology: Social Cliques In High School

1364 words - 5 pages

Most every high school in America has its own set of "cliques" or social castes whose members mingle mostly within the one clique. Many schools have unique groups according to the area such as "surfers", "snow bunnies", and "hicks" referring to people who surf, snow ski/board, or take on more rural looks. However, most schools share some common groups such as "preppies" who are usually the upper class students with more money, "goths" who are earmarked by their usually black clothes and body piercings, "geeks/nerds" who are the scholarly students, "jocks" who participate in sports and school activities, and usually "cheerleaders" make up their own clique although most often belonging to the preppie group. No matter how integrated one may think their school is, it is more than likely that upon closer observation the discrimination between groups will become quite clear. After all, social cliques are a normal and healthy phase of adolescent life that aid in the learning of social norms and general cultural practices.Many students interviewed by Matt Tabor, a collaborator for www.ihigh.com, agree that something as careless as who a child is placed next to on the first day of kindergarten can determine that child's future clique membership. A child's earliest companions will soon lead them through middle and high school, determining what caste they will become part of along the way. These cliques are the dynamic forces behind social blueprints in the high school setting; the clique you're in determines whom you associate with, what activities you're involved in, and whether or not your high school experience is a happy one (Kick That Clique, 2000).The problem of the "clique" is starting earlier than ever. Because children are brought into social settings at ages as young as two years, they are thrust into a world that is prepping them for the years ahead. Children are learning at a very young age that fitting in is a good feeling and is quite easy to do with the right networking skills. Most children are also learning that getting what they want gets easier the more superior of a seat they hold on the "clique food chain". What this produces are manipulative children willing to morph into whatever shape is needed at that particular time. The individual is lost before it even has time to develop and blossom. In earlier studies the family was found to be the main source of a child's sociological development, however social scientists are suggesting that the locus of children's identity is shifting from the family to their peer groups at an ever-younger age according to sociologist Patricia Adler, co-author of Peer Power: Preadolescent Culture and Identity. "Kids derive their identity from their location in these friendship circles," she says (Cliques Make Fitting In a Tough Task in High School, 2001).Every school is unique in how its population is broken down into cliques, however there is a common theme among most hierarchies (Kick That Clique, 2000)....

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