The Importance of Status



A teenager's status in the eyes of his or her peers is extremely important to most adolescents.  Why this near obsession with status?  It is because they have so little economic or political power.  They must attend school for most of the day and they have only very limited influence on what happens there.  They are pressured to learn complex and esoteric knowledge like algebra, chemistry, and European history, which rarely has immediate relevance to their day-to-day lives.  They do, however, have once crucial kind of power: the power to create an informal social world in which they evaluate one another.  That is, they can and do create their own status systems--usually based on criteria that are quite different from those promoted by parents or teachers.  In short, the main kind if power teenagers  have is status power.  Predictably, their status in the eyes of their peers becomes very important in their day-to-day lives.

----Murray Milner Jr.  Freaks, Geeks, and Cool Kids: American Teenagers, Schools, and the Culture of Consumption 2006.


And of the three major expressions of power—force, allocation of goods and services,  and expression of approval and disapproval-- expressions of approval and disapproval are the only form of power generally open to students



Task 4