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Ecological settings of adolescence

April 19, 2013

According to Robert Crosnoe and Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson:

Because adolescents have limited mobility, neighborhoods can powerfully structure their lives physically and socially.” (p.446)

Another major ecological setting of adolescence is the school, where young people spend a large proportion of their waking hours.” (p.447)

“As for the connection between neighborhoods and schools, ethnographic work has been especially insightful. For example, several studies have illuminated the unique challenges faced by working class and low-income African American youth, especially boys, as they simultaneously navigate their neighborhoods and their schools with very different sets of racialized expectations for youth. For such boys, the tough and seemingly defiant posture that they develop among peers in their neighborhoods is often misconstrued and viewed negatively by the middle-class personnel in their schools, leading to academic marginalization and fueling pernicious ideas about the oppositional culture of minority youth (Dance 2002, Carter 2006).

“The point of this neighborhood and school research is that ecological settings create social networks and contexts in which the powerful peer and family processes of adolescence operate. Thus, going beyond structural dimensions of such settings to capture social processes is important.” (p.447)

(When I read this, there were a few books I thought of…, like Violence 101, for example…).

Crosnoe and Johnson also note that: “Importantly, the Internet can also be thought of as a new kind of peer context.” (p.452) They continue: “A recent study of 800 American youth revealed that, for most youth, new media technologies are used primarily to maintain and extend friendship networks (Ito et al. 2010). Moreover, the Internet provides opportunities for socially isolated youth to connect with others in meaningful ways while also enabling the peer cultures of high school—including negative dimensions, such as bullying and gossiping—to follow young people home (Crosnoe 2011, Raskauskas & Stoltz 2007). Thus, new media represent a potential context of resource and risk related to peers.” (p.453)

Ref: (emphases in blue bold, mine) Robert Crosnoe and Monica Kirkpatrick Johnson (2011) Research on Adolescence in the Twenty-First Century. Annual Review of Sociology 37:439–60

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