recentpopularlog in

robertogreco : cliques   5

What Determines Whether a School Has Mean Girls? -- Science of Us
"The hierarchical high school of John Hughes’s movies and Mean Girls is ubiquitous in pop culture, but it is not universal in real life. A new study finds that some schools — based on their size, organizational structure, and academic climate — are more likely to foster cliques than others.

Cliques form because people are often attracted to people of the same race, class, gender, and age as themselves — this is not a novel idea, and in sociology, this concept is called homophily (“love of the same”). But Daniel McFarland, an education professor at Stanford and the lead author of the study, discovered that this tendency to segregate is much more prevalent in large schools and schools that provide students with more academic freedom. A news release about the study explains: “Schools that offer students more choice — more elective courses, more ways to complete requirements, a bigger range of potential friends, more freedom to select seats in a classroom — are more likely to be rank-ordered, cliquish, and segregated.

McFarland, whose study will be published in December in American Sociological Review, said in a phone interview that in college, when he and his peers would reflect on high school, some recalled segregated, hierarchical social scenes, while others remembered much more egalitarian environments. “Everyone had a different version of what adolescent society was like,” he said, and so he and his co-authors were interested in comparing different high schools, to see how students’ networks were shaped by the organization of their school.

The researchers used two data sets for the study: one to examine friendships on the classroom level, and the other to explore schoolwide relationships. The classroom-level data set compared two extremely different schools. One was a traditional, tracked, Midwestern high school made up of mostly white students. The other was a magnet school in a “distressed” neighborhood of a large city that was diverse along racial and economic lines, but “homogenous in achievement.”

For the schoolwide study, an existing data set was used that, among many other survey questions, asked thousands of adolescents at 144 different schools about their friendships. The reason for two data sets, McFarland explained, was to determine if the students formed similar networks in their classes as they did throughout the entire school. “A friend in class seems to be a fairweather friend, a weaker tie,” he said.

McFarland and his team found that in contrast with the larger, more flexible schools, schools with a more rigid academic atmosphere usually fostered friendships based on intellectual interests and common activities. (This was true both on the classroom level and on a schoolwide level.) Throughout the study, large schools are often equated with less rigid schools, because most of these more stringent institutions were private schools, and thus were smaller.

Because smaller schools inherently offered a smaller pool of potential friends, they also limited friendships based on “external” criteria (race, gender, status, etc. ... ). To some degree, this is intuitive: There are fewer friends to choose from, so excluding people becomes riskier.

The takeaway, McFarland said, is that “the way we organize schools will have repercussions” for students’ interpersonal relationships. Teachers and administrators may think they cannot influence their students’ social fabric, but they can. Schools can “indirectly direct” the way that social networks form, by providing more or fewer choices for students. This influence can be used to promote student friendships across intellectual or academic commonalities, rather than external traits. McFarland thinks this knowledge can be used for the better: By designing schools that encourage students to associate based on common interests, we can avoid “creating boundaries that correspond with inequities that already exist in society.”

McFarland cautioned against concluding from this study that a small, rigid school is best for all students. Throughout this research, he grew concerned that “the prescription seemed to be layering all sorts of forced activities so we prevent all of these castes. I don’t think that’s necessarily what we want.” He even declined to say definitively that cliques are harmful to students’ development. (There are plenty of “folk theories” about this, he said, but not enough actual empirical evidence.)

McFarland believes that educators can still learn a great deal from these findings about organizing schools and curricula, even if more research still needs to be done. He said that teachers and administrators must now aim to find a curriculum “that encourages students to associate based on intellectual interests that span gender, race, and class.” Because, McFarland said, “Most reasonable people know that that isn’t a good basis for forming a relationship.””
2014  cliques  homophily  schools  segregation  ranking  electives  davidmcfarland  meangirls  behavior  scheduling 
november 2014 by robertogreco
cliqueonomics | savasavasava
"I observe communities. I try to understand what makes communities come together and then cohere, how communities work to include and exclude people, what the parameters of that inclusion and exclusion are, and what effect that might have on people within and without those communities. we can form community around our love of coffee, our emotional response to particular music or tv shows, or our need for cat gifs. we also form communities around social and personal experiences. communities are important places for support, love, and connection. but we know this.

as much as I am sensitive to why communities are formed, I’m also sensitive to who gets left out and why. there are those we should be wary of (like people with malicious intent) but in our zeal to “belong”, we sometimes overlook people we might be keeping out because of things we take for granted.

I found myself thinking about this a little more than usual recently because of a couple of things.

a few days ago, The Digital Ecologies Research Partnership was launched. it has an aptly named website, too: http://derp.institute/. the partnership was formed to allow researchers access to data across the social network platforms Reddit, Twitch, and Imgur, among others. this is a good thing – it will help researchers examine and understand social behavior across platforms in interesting ways. I’ll be following along with interest. and there’s a good group of people involved – I know some of these people and their work, and I look forward to the excellent stuff that will come from this.

when the partnership was announced, I expressed some reservations about the acronym (ambiguously on twitter (which went off in a slightly contentious direction), more in-depth in a DM exchange with a twitter friend involved with the project, and further in-depth vocally over a pint), not because I don’t think it’s clever, but because I worry that it adds to a culture that continues to frame an internet we’d like to believe is democratic as a string of inside jokes.

the word “derp” has meaning and history and can mean different things for different people. and this is all good. but, it’s an inside joke, and one that those who get will giggle at, and those who don’t might have condescendingly explained to. as a twitter friend pointed out, it could also be considered ableist – something I hadn’t even thought of. also, the partnership is an academic endeavor, which is my specialty. and though I love many of them dearly, academics are some of the cliquiest people I know.

there’s also been a recent proliferation of TinyLetter newsletters. to be fair, I subscribe to a couple. I used to subscribe to more but I found myself not reading most of them because of the volume of email I deal with, and there are some I won’t subscribe to because I already get enough of their particular brand of cleverness on twitter. in some ways, these newsletters seem like a nostalgic adoption of an older form of community communication like listservs or usenet; in other ways, they seem like a way to create a more captive audience now that the popular platforms seem to be on the verge of being drowned out by the noise of mass adoption; and in yet other ways, they seem to be a way to create new forms of community, both inclusive and thus possibly eventually exclusive – almost secretive communities, shying away from the discoverable spotlight of open social media and search engine results. in a time when there is much discussion of issues surrounding paywalls and net neutrality they feel, somewhat ironically, like a new form of walled, hidden information sharing.

I won’t pretend that I’m not privy to some internet in-jokes, and I’m on the periphery of enough cliques to understand some of them or at least recognize when I’m not in on the joke. and I’ve certainly engaged in behavior that puts me on the inside and has made other people aware of how they aren’t part of whatever little internet circlejoke that I’m a part of. but both these examples have made me more aware of how important inclusivity and exclusivity are in communities, and my role in participating in and contributing to one or the other or both. communities are important – they provide safe spaces for people, emotional and intellectual nurturing, a way for us not to feel like we are alone. but we seem to be creating “clique economies” – exclusive clubs for the special few, the practice of which I will call cliqueonomics.

we’re forgetting how we’re here trying to create a more democratic space. we’re forgetting that we’re trying to make a place that is safe and accessible to all. we’re forgetting how it felt to be on the outside looking in. those of us involved in creating communities need to remember to talk about who we might inadvertently leave out, else one day, we’ll find ourselves left out."
savasahelisingh  twitter  cliques  networks  communities  socialmedia  tinyletter  cliqueonomics  derp  2014  democracy 
september 2014 by robertogreco
▶ Christina Xu, Breadpig - XOXO Festival (2013) - YouTube
"In many industries, publishers can sometimes hurt unknown artists more than they help. But a new model for publishing is emerging, and Breadpig is paving the way—helping independent artists find a wider audience without losing control over their work. In addition to her work running Breadpig, Christina Xu is co-founder of ROFLCon, the conference on Internet culture, and founding director of the Institute on Higher Awesome Studies, the nonprofit wing of the Awesome Foundation."

[Transcript:
http://breadpig.tumblr.com/post/62171738926/welcome-to-the-new-breadpig-blog-this-is-the ]

See also Frank Chimero:
http://frankchimero.com/blog/2013/09/the-inferno-of-independence/

and Anil Dash:
http://dashes.com/anil/2013/09/xoxo-and-reckoning-with-nice.html ]
christinaxu  breadpig  crowdfunding  xoxo  2013  trailblazing  support  creativity  logistics  supportservices  bootstrapping  independence  interdependence  supportstructures  kickstarter  structure  structurelessness  obsatacles  systemsthinking  darkmatter  norms  communities  meangirls  cliques  meritocracy  gatekeepers  disintermediation 
october 2013 by robertogreco
Participationism and the Limits of Collaboration - Presentation on Vimeo
"With participation now a dominant paradigm, structuring social interaction, art, activism, the architecture of the city, and the economy, we are all integrated into participatory structures whether we want to be or not. How are artists and activists navigating the participation paradigm, mapping the limits of collaboration, and modeling participatory forms of critical engagement?

This panel is organized by Not An Alternative and presented in association with the exhibition Re:Group: Beyond Models of Consensus, curated and organized by Eyebeam, Not An Alternative, and Upgrade NY!"

[See also: http://www.eyebeam.org/press/media/videos/participationism-and-the-limits-of-collaboration-presentation ]
participatory  participation  collaboration  hierarchy  art  activism  urban  urbanism  consensus  cities  economics  social  astrataylor  jodidean  johnhawke  notanalternative  cliques  control  power  criticism  2010  ideology  politics  zizek  ncm  participatoryart  ncmideas 
april 2011 by robertogreco
mini. Quiet Babylon | In Defence (but not Praise) of Fans
"I don’t remember where but I remember reading that pretty much everyone thinks of high school as being a place that was full of cliques but thinks as themselves as someone who kind of floated between them without really belonging to any one in particular…

The kind of people Cory celebrates here will always be my people. I will always have a soft spot for them, especially for the younger ones, constructing shells to keep the hateful, hateful world out. But there comes a point of growing, a point where you can look back at your own Martian’s distance from a Martian’s distance and you recognize that there too, there were empty habits or worse."
timmaly  corydoctorow  cliques  cosmopolitanism  opinions  selfimage  identity  normal  whatisnormal  adolescence  superiority  difference  pretension 
november 2010 by robertogreco

Copy this bookmark:





to read