Thesis

Negotiating racial interactions and building peer culture in a high school classroom

Thesis (M.A., Sociology)--California State University, Sacramento, 2012.

How do students in a racially diverse classroom use race to interact and form peer cultures? In this study, I conducted participant observation for one year at an urban high school in the Sacramento City Unified School District. I developed both a least adult field role as well as a participant as observer field role. I found that the students developed a variety of methods when using race in their interactions in order to build their peer cultures. Students used self-referential stereotypes with same race peers and mirrored racial labels and stereotypes in interactions with peers from other racial groups. I also found that students explored race by probing the boundaries of racial and "racist" peer behavior. The results of the grounded theory analysis showed that students negotiated many different aspects of race in order to build their peer culture in their racially diverse high school classroom.

How do students in a racially diverse classroom use race to interact and form peer cultures? In this study, I conducted participant observation for one year at an urban high school in the Sacramento City Unified School District. I developed both a least adult field role as well as a participant as observer field role. I found that the students developed a variety of methods when using race in their interactions in order to build their peer cultures. Students used self-referential stereotypes with same race peers and mirrored racial labels and stereotypes in interactions with peers from other racial groups. I also found that students explored race by probing the boundaries of racial and "racist" peer behavior. The results of the grounded theory analysis showed that students negotiated many different aspects of race in order to build their peer culture in their racially diverse high school classroom.

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