Assignment on Adolescent Peer Cultures

Adolescence represents a transitional period between statuses and affiliations. Most often the term’s use is restricted to the transition from the world of the child to adult.

Certain historical antecedents have heightened the importance of adolescence and an understanding of it. Major factors include, “the separation of the location of work from the domicile, the highly specialized division of labor, the necessity of a long period of education and training in preparation for a position within the complex urban-industrial structure, the availability to the young of a considerable share of the economic affluence, and the relatively high social and geographic mobility so characteristic of urban-industrial life”.

Adolescence may be characterized by a separation from the adult world and the increasing salience of the peer group. The peer group serves as a focus for the development of a distinct culture including activities, routines, norms, and values.

The vast majority of the research done which respects the autonomy of children’s cultures has been done either with young children or with high school-age adolescents. This is unfortunate because of the importance of this stage as serving as a transition from childhood to adolescence. This is the time in which peer influences are thought to be at their most advanced state.

Early adolescents have a greater level of independence than younger children and are given more opportunities to interact outside of the constraints of adults. Studies of student life in educational environments have consistently found that being with friends is the most salient aspect of school life for most students. However, not all friendship groups are considered equal among middle school and high school students.

A major development during pre and early adolescence is an increasing concern with social status and social differentiation. Numerous studies have also found that for males, athletic participation is a key to the acquisition of social status. The link between social status and athletic participation is understood by recognizing the importance of athletics in overall gender development.

The characteristics and traits expected of adult males are (theoretically) transmitted in the sports setting. Not only are cultural expectations for individual males supported in athletics, but also the school as an institution legitimates the importance of participation through the tremendous financial and organizational support given these programs.

Thesis on Sporting Apparel

Sporting goods and apparel are the products most often presumed to be promoted through the vehicle of women’s sports. As consumers, women are known to make the majority of apparel purchases and recently have been found to comprise a large segment of the sporting goods consum­ers.

For example, Anne Flannery, the Manager of Spalding women’s Sports Division, found that women make 70% of the sporting goods decisions in this country. Many experts believe women represent a unique marketing opportunity because they buy for themselves, and they buy for their children and spouses.

All regions of the country are targeted by the typical corporation sponsoring women’s sport. However, the specific regions most often targeted appeared to bathe East and the West. This may be explained by the population density on both coasts. The marketing may appear to be focused more in these directions, simply because there are more people to target.

The recent growth in sponsorship of volleyball can be related to the development of beach volleyball. Tour promoters have indicated that corporate sponsorship has continued to increase resulting in more events, partici­pants, spectators, prize money, and sponsorship dollars. In addition, the 1996 Olympic Games will include beach volleyball as a medal sport.

This recogni­tion has helped establish beach volleyball as a legitimate and lucrative activity worthy of the sponsorship dollars and attention realized by other professional sports. In the collegiate segment, women’s basketball has experienced tremendous growth in attendance and media exposure. Indicators from the previous NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four tournaments show that growth and interest are continuing.

The event has already been sold out, one year in advance, for the 1995-1996 season, in addition, CBS sold the television rights for the Cabwomen’s Basketball Final Four to ESPN for $19 million. In the past, CBS has covered a few select games of the women’s tournament including the women’s championship. However, their efforts were more directed towards the Men’s NCAA Basketball Championship tournament. With ESPN covering the entire women’s tournament, sponsors will no longer compete for viewers on the same network that simultaneously covers the men’s tournament.

Essay on Importance of Peer Relationship

While the cultures of children have long been of interest to social theorists until recently studies of these cultures have failed to conceptualize youth as complete and autonomous social actors. Through the mid-1960s research on child development and socialization was dominated by a behavioristic approach. This approach has been criticized on three major points.

First, children were viewed passively. The emphasis was on the internalization of adult roles by means of modeling and reinforcement. Adults controlled the socialization process. This approach may also be characterized as individualistic. Children learned the elements of adult culture separately and apart from peers. Lastly, the behavioristic perspective has largely neglected the cognitive processes and interpretive capacities of children (and indeed of all social actors). The world described by behaviorists is objective, obvious, and requires no interpretation.

This perspective has come under increasing attack for its simplistic notions with respect to the dynamics of interaction and social structure. The recognition of the importance of peer relations is a major step toward a better understanding of socialization and developmental processes. There are, however, flaws which remain in this approach.

The perspective is still largely individualistic in nature. While peers are seen as influencing the development of knowledge and skills, these competencies are still characteristic of individuals and not the peer group. There is an assumed model of the competent adult actor and children are evaluated against this ideal. A recognition of the autonomy of children’s cultures is still lacking.

Children are viewed as incompetent, or flawed adults, attempting to master the skills necessary to function as complete (adult) social actors. The constructionist emphasis on the activities of children has served as a starting point for many theorists wishing to take a more culturally based approach to socialization. These theorists have incorporated the work of symbolic interactionist and more recent theoretical developments, by persons in order to consider the social context of children’s activities.

Thesis on Family Systems Approach

Family systems theory fits in the general systems theory, an approach that has been used mostly in the area co-counseling. Family systems theory views the individual as an organization of biological, psychological, and social components. Family systems theory posits that the family functions as an organizational system in which each family member affects and is affected by the others.

Each family member must be viewed in the context of his other life. This is similar to social learning theory and the social role-social system approach which utilizes both psychological and sociological variables in explaining behaviors. Social learning theory believes that social context interacts with an individual’s personal attributes in the process of learning a specific social role.

In the context of the family system, there are certain properties characterizing the system, one of which is wholeness. Wholeness refers to the relationship between family members. The behavior of each family member is related to and dependent on the behavior of all the others.

According to this concept, parents who participate in sport and fitness activities can serve as role models for children within the family context. These children should be more likely to be involved in similar activities than those who do not have such role models within the family context. Another property of the family as a system is feedback.

Feedback is the interactional process among the members of the family. Feedback can be either negative or positive. Negative feedback is the information that comes into the system and is used to maintain the status quo. Deviation in the system is corrected and prevented so that equilibrium is restored.

Positive feedback forces a system to change and prevents the system from returning to its previous state. In the process of socializing children into sport and fitness activity, encouragement and discouragement that children receive for participation from other family members, especially parents, reflect the feedback property of the family system.

It is the nature of the system’s organization and the interactional process that determines the results of the system. Relative to the study of sport socialization within the family context, it is meaningful to look at the influences of family socioeconomic factors, family structure, parents’ role models, and reinforcement patterns simultaneously.