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Open Access Publications from the University of California

White Kids: Identity Construction, Critical Mass, and Symbolic Exclusion in High School Cliques and other Groups

  • Author(s): Lueck, Kerstin
  • Steffen, Hayley
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://doi.org/10.5070/B82110049
Abstract

This ethnographic study explored to what extent white students were able to critically understand the significance of their racial identity in more diverse demographic settings. It further looked at the discourse the students used to describe themselves, their cliques, and other groups with regard to race and racial identities. The participants in this study were students at two public urban high schools in the same district, one where white students have a substantial critical mass but are not the majority and one in which they comprise a small minority. Interview and observation data were analyzed through thematic coding. The emerging themes coded for included boundary work, symbolic exclusion, group rigidity and group options, critical mass, and white consciousness.

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