In American high schools, teenagers must navigate complex youth cultures that often prize being 'real' while punishing difference. Adults may view such social turbulence as a timeless, ultimately harmless rite of passage, but changes in American society are intensifying this rite and allowing its effects to cascade into adulthood. Integrating national statistics with interviews and observations from a single school, this book explores this phenomenon. It makes the case that recent macro-level trends, such as economic restructuring and technological change, mean that the social dynamics of high school can disrupt educational trajectories after high school; it looks at teenagers who do not fit in socially at school - including many who are obese or gay - to illustrate this phenomenon; and it crafts recommendations for parents, teachers and policy-makers about how to protect teenagers in trouble. The result is a story of adolescence that hits home with anyone who remembers high school.
Fitting In, Standing Out
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