|About the Book|
This dissertation examines the effects of perceived coercive interactions on African-American middle school students in a suburban school district. By examining these perceived coercive interactions, I am able to illuminate the process through whichMoreThis dissertation examines the effects of perceived coercive interactions on African-American middle school students in a suburban school district. By examining these perceived coercive interactions, I am able to illuminate the process through which anti-school and anti-social attitudes form in adolescent subcultures as reactions to coercive or punitive interactions with complex school structures, particularly those found in public schools. This process suggests that the extreme antagonism characterizing such attitudes would not exist if students did not perceive these interactions as coercive. Specifically, this dissertation concerns itself with the principles of coercion as a mediating cause of counter-school culture, rather than focusing on the larger picture of the social purposes that may be served by creating and maintaining such border-defining outgroups. The research methodologies employed were: (1) a quantitative analysis of thirty-seven middle school climate surveys administered to a purposefully sampled population and (2) a qualitative analysis of nine in-depth interviews with conveniently sampled participants from the same population as the climate surveys conducted in an effort to identify outliers. This dissertation challenges the interfaces, or contact points, which mediate some of the complex structures of schools and their social policies. Schools share some of the responsibility in the reproduction of inequalities across social class and race. When schools create social policies or environments that do not take into consideration the norms, beliefs, and values of other cultures, the end result is simple---antagonistic subculture groups continue to operate on their own accord and terms.