ABSTRACT

In Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids, Second Edition, award-winning sociologist Murray Milner tries to understand why teenagers behave the way they do. The first edition drew upon two years of intensive fieldwork in one high school and 300 written interviews about high schools across the country, where he argued that consumer culture greatly impacts the way our youth relate to one another and understand themselves and society. Milner now expands on that concept with a new year of fieldwork fifteen years after he began. He has uncovered in teens a move away from consumerism and towards the cultural capital of information in a time of social media and standardized tests.

Part I. The Puzzle and the Tools 1. Why Do They Behave Like That? 2. The Tools for Understanding Part II. Explaining Teens’ Behavior 3. Fitting In, Standing Out, and Keeping Up 4. Steering Clear, Hanging Out, and Hooking Up 5. Exchanges, Labels, and Put-Downs Part III. Why Schools Vary 6. The Pluralistic High School 7. Other Kinds of Schools Part IV. Teen Status Systems and Consumerism 8. Creating Consumers 9. Consuming Life 10. Conclusions and Implications Part V: Fifteen Years Later 11. Fifteen Years Later Appendix I. The Theory of Status Relations: Elaborations Appendix II. Data and Methods Appendix III. Sample Research Materials Appendix IV. Data and Method 2013-14