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In this timely and insightful book, award-winning sociologist Murray Milner tries to understand why teenagers behave the way they do. Drawing upon two years of intensive fieldwork in one high school and 300 written interviews about high schools across the country, he argues that consumer culture has greatly impacted the way our youth relate to one another and understand themselves and society. He also suggests that the status systems in high schools are in and of themselves an important contributing factor to the creation and maintenance of consumer capitalism explaining the importance of designer jeans and designer drugs in an effort to be the coolest kid in the class.
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Murray Milner, Jr. is Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia. His book, Status and Sacredness, won the 1996 Distinguished Publication Award from the American Sociological Association.Review:
"Murray Milner has done more than perhaps any other American sociologist to remind us that 'status' remains a primary mode of stratification, one that is dependent on cultural, not material power. He first set out this claim in his study of the Hindu caste system. In this new installment of his research program, he applies his considerable powers to American teenagers, and he shows how they produce caste systems of an equally deep and irrational kind. "Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids is exemplary sociological research and theory. It is also wise and witty, and often touching as well."
-Jeffrey C. Alexander, co-editor of "The New Social Theory Reader: Contemporary Debates
"A rare book! Social science at its best, yet full of messages for parents, educators, and anybody who cares about the next generation."
-Amitai Etzioni, author of "My Brother's Keeper: A Memoir and a Message
"Milner explains why high school cliques have so much power and can inflictso much pain. Anyone who cares about adolescents--parents, teachers, principals, and teenagers themselves--should definitely read this book. I couldn't stop reading it, and can't wait to discuss it with my students. It is sociological analysis at its best!."
-Caroline Hodges Persell, co-author of "Preparing for Power: America's Elite Boarding Schools
"What do high school kids and Indian castes have in common? Murray Milner, expert on both, presents the results of a collective ethnography which is surely the most comprehensive sociological picture we have of high school society. Methodologically, theoretically, and substantively, this book is state of the art."
-Randall Collins, author of "Macrohistory: Essays inSociology of the Long Run
"Countless books are written about the world of the teenager, but this one is unique in its discussion of the link between teen status systems and consumer culture. This scholarly study, based on two years of fieldwork with teens in one school and written interviews with teens in schools around the country, is recommended for students, researchers, and educators."
-Library Journal, 2004
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