Peer Power

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Soc 150 Section: 01 C. Daniel (ANON for site)
Dr. Herrick March 25, 2008

[4] Patricia A. Adler and Peter Adler“Peer Power”1998

In the article “Peer Power,” concepts from chapters seven and eight can be seen. These concepts are ideology, structural mobility, social class, and power. The ideology of the clique leader caused kids who were trying to climb the social ladder to mimic the beliefs of the leader of the group. The cliques in this study also showed that there was structural mobility among them. Lower members of cliques would become motivated to seek greater inclusion, and therefore tried to become a part of the elite inner circle of the group. The kids were divided into a hierarchy of social classes within the clique, from the group leader, higher members, lower members, and then there were non-members. Higher members had more freedom of expression than lower classes, because of their power. The leaders of the groups had the ability manipulate everyone else's beliefs through bullying.

Qualities of functionalist theories, conflict theories, and symbolic interactionism may be applied to the article. Functionalism is demonstrated through the presence of a mock-class system of some sort in the cliques. Higher classes will always look down on lower classes, and the fact that the children had one could help them to understand more about social stratification later in life. Conflict theory is seen in the fact the lower-class members of the group had attempt climbing the social ladder higher status, facing bullying along the way. The watching of the elite in the clique by the lower individuals, the gain of status through imitation shows symbolic interactionism.

Although they did show information from past studies, Patricia A. Adler and Peter Adler did an empirical study through interviews with individuals in cliques who were in third- to sixth-grade. Among the questions asked were having to do with boundary maintenance,...
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