Jocks and Burnouts: Social Categories and Identity in the High School

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ISBN-13: 978-0807729632
ISBN-10: 0807729639
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press (August 1, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807729639
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807729632
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By RJS, a professor on April 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have found this book one of the most useful ethnographies for teaching undergraduate anthropology courses focusing on schooling in cultural context. My students find the book very accessible, and often say how surprised they are at how little they understood of their own education before they encountered Eckert's work. The book successfully addresses cultural aspects by framing them in a coherent social structural analysis. Concrete examples and straighforward evidence support the theory, which is presented so well that is remains within the grasp of most undergraduate students. Perfect for complementing ethnographies of schooling outside North America. I consider this book essential reading for anyone planning to teach in the public school systems.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By John J. Dziak on September 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is about high school kids and the way they view themselves, others, and the worlds of school and work. It starts with stereotypes in order to go beyond them. It explores why some young men and women are in student government and others are out in the courtyard smoking -- and yet it does so with great respect for both groups, showing how each group functions as a miniature society with its own rules that make sense within their context, however well or poorly they fit in with the grownup world. It reminded me of many things from my own high school career as well! The basic premise is that a typical high school student body consists of Jocks (annoyingly enthusiastic youths with a lot of school spirit), Burnouts (working-class kids who aren't on the college track and don't see much value to school), In-Betweens, and Nerds/outcasts. By comparing the values of the Jocks and Burnouts and how they relate to economics, the job market, and social psychology, Eckert tells a fascinating story of the self-expression of emerging adults. This book should be a big help to teachers, counselors, and other people working with high school students, as well as to parents who might be confused by the seemingly senseless world of a high school.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John J. Dziak on September 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is about high school kids and the way they view themselves, others, and the worlds of school and work. It starts with stereotypes in order to go beyond them. It explores why some young men and women are in student government and others are out in the courtyard smoking -- and yet it does so with great respect for both groups, showing how each group functions as a miniature society with its own rules that make sense within their context, however well or poorly they fit in with the grownup world. It reminded me of many things from my own high school career as well! The basic premise is that a typical high school student body consists of Jocks (annoyingly enthusiastic youths with a lot of school spirit), Burnouts (working-class kids who aren't on the college track and don't see much value to school), In-Betweens, and Nerds/outcasts. By comparing the values of the Jocks and Burnouts and how they relate to economics, the job market, and social psychology, Eckert tells a fascinating story of the self-expression of emerging adults. This book should be a big help to teachers, counselors, and other people working with high school students, as well as to parents who might be confused by the seemingly senseless world of a high school.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By not a natural on June 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Penepole Eckert's book Jocks and Burnouts provides compelling examples of the depth and complexity of insights that can be gained by one who is skilled in ethnographic research methods and sufficiently committed to the work to spend one or more years studying a specific social setting. In Eckert's work the social setting was "Belten" high school, set in a predominately middle class suburb of Detroit. All told, Eckert spent two years doing participant- observation, observation, and open-ended interviewing at this one school and the area in which it is located. In addition, she did shorter periods of ethnographic work (qualitative research or simply field work, if you prefer) at two other schools in the same suburban Detroit area.

While Eckert used the full complement of established ethnographic tools in studying "Belten" High, she relied most heavily on participant-observation. Since she was thrity-eight years old when she began her research, she could not have plausibly adopted the institutionalized role of student. The other roles available -- administrator, teacher, counselor, coach -- were part of the "Belten's" authority structure, with which Eckert did not want to be identified. Furthermore, any of these established adult roles would have limited her mobility, preventing her from freely visiting court yards, the cafeteria, the auditorium, or just walking the hallways to see what was going on and finding students with whom she might do informal, unstructured, open-ended inerviewing.

Eckert purposely avoided observation in classrooms, giving priority to student activities outside of class, and, in some instances, out of school in the larger social and geographical context in which "Belten" was located.
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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Sam on May 15, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I needed to read this book for a college class and it was so far over my head my neck hurts just trying to look at it. So many big words it's unbelievable. It may have been a great book but I wouldn't know, I just sort of skimmed it to understand the gist and got a B on the paper I had to write. So if you are looking for an easy book to read for school I'd suggest a different book. If you are looking for a book to read for fun I would suggest Harry Potter.
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