University of Leicester
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Differential commitment to school and patterns of peer group culture.

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posted on 2015-11-19, 09:16 authored by Guy Paul Dampier. Phelps
This study was designed to investigate the media use of thirteen to fourteen year old adolescents and, in particular, to demonstrate the extent to which the peer group is an important intervening factor. It is argued that the 'pop media' include a broad spectrum of cultural artefacts, and that peer groups, whose members both occupy different positions within and display different attitudes towards the social structure, will use the media to different degrees and in different ways. Fifty pupils were selected who represented peer groups differentiated by sex, social class and attitude to schooling. They came from five secondary schools (two Grammar, two Secondary Modem and one Comprehensive) situated in contrasting areas of four cities located all over the country. Each child completed a questionnaire and was individually interviewed, as well as responding to a number of more experimental techniques. Two systems of cultural alternatives were found to dominate the leisure pursuits of these adolescents. These were the culture of the 'pop media' as represented by listening to records, keeping up with fashion, going to dances etc., and the culture of the local neighbourhood, the continuing traditions of working class street culture. A complex series of relationships is demonstrated between these and the middle class ethos of the school. The popular argument that the 'pop media' are primarily a refuge for anti-school educational rejects is shown to be a fallacy and a high degree of involvement with certain forms of pop material is exposed among both failures and successes in the school system. Clear distinctions are made, however, between the uses to which these media are put by the various groups and the importance of these differing functions is underlined.


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University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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