Coming of Age in U.S. High Schools: Economic, Kinship, Religious, and Political Crosscurrents takes readers into the lives of urban and suburban adolescents for a close-up look at how they navigate the conflicting discourses and disciplinary practices of American cultural crosscurrents that flow through economic, kinship, religious, and political domains of American life. The book is distinctive in how it combines classic anthropological theory and contemporary post-anthropological perspectives into an innovative framework for understanding adolescent coming of age processes in U.S. public high schools. Coming of age is conceived as a dual process of community integration and identity formation.
In this expansive multi-site ethnography of high school students representing diverse racial, ethnic, social class, gender, and sexual backgrounds, coming of age is described and analyzed as it unfolded in the classrooms and corridors of three high schools: a racially desegregated urban school; a suburban school serving middle class students; and a school with a majority of Black youth living in impoverished inner-city neighborhoods. The study goes well beyond issues of academic achievement to recognize and explore the function of U.S. high schools in smoothing adolescent transitions into the multiple domains of American life. Graduating seniors in the final analyses are heralded as absorbers of traditions, barometers of trends, and harbingers of change.
Of interest to a broad range of researchers, teachers, and educational policymakers, this book is particularly relevant for scholars, faculty, and graduate students in social foundations of education, educational anthropology, secondary teacher education, qualitative educational research, and related fields.
Table of Contents
Contents: Preface. New Age for Coming of Age. Surface Depths. Economic Domain: Il/licit Pursuit of Mobility. Kinship Domain: Family (Dis)connections. Religious Domain: Freedom of/From Religion. Political Domain: Democracy and Domination. Reaching Shore. Appendix.
"In this carefully nuanced and richly textured qualitative study, Hemmings follows the voices of a diverse array of high school students as they navigate their way through the crosscurrents of economics, politics, religion, and family life in contemporary America....Highly recommended."
"There are altogether too few texts on the market that provide the detailed, reasoned account of American adolescence and schooling that Coming of Age in U.S. High Schools offers. This book attends to adolescence, it complicates popular but oversimplified notions about adolescents, and it documents how schools impact both individuals' and societal development."
University of California at Riverside
"After reading this book...I am left with an increased appreciation of the nuanced ways that individuals construct meanings and futures within the variety of discourses that help shape kids in twenty-first century America."
—Pamela J. Bettis
Washington State University
"The knowledge that emerges from different school/life contexts among a diverse group of adolescents is very rich."
—Sandra Winn Tutwiler