Marginalization and membership

Jill Koyama, Margaret A. Gibson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


In high schools across the United States adolescents enter into social relations with many others, some whose backgrounds are similar to their own and others who are racially, ethnically, economically, culturally, and linguistically different. There, they interact with one another, constructing seemingly coherent systems of knowledge and engaging in complex patterns of social activities across a wide range of possible memberships available to high school students. These interactions are especially complex because of their placement within the social, economic, racial/ethnic, and political characteristics of schools and also because students, as well as teachers, administrators, and staff, bring to school their own histories and life experiences. Students, increasing numbers of whom are economically marginalized and recent immigrants, and teachers, who have attained middle-class status and are mostly native-born Americans, are, together, "people who started out from very different places (literally or metaphorically or both) [and] wind up occupying the same space" (Ortner, 1996, p. 182). And across the space, adolescents in essence "make" and "remake" themselves over and over again, refusing a singular or essentialist label of identification and struggling against the processes of class determinism. They are formed as social and cultural subjects as a result of their backgrounds?their social class, their ethnicity, and their race?but also as a result of their shared daily environment and interactions (2003, p. 169). Through their encounters with one another in various school settings, they construct themselves and the "others" repeatedly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationLate to Class
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Class and Schooling in the New Economy
PublisherState University of New York Press
Number of pages25
ISBN (Print)9780791470930
StatePublished - 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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