How peergroups create social inequality. Distinctive practices in the context of gender, class, ethnicity and culture
Institute of Educational Science University of Goettingen Berlin, Germany
The paper presents first results from a cross-cultural study on peer-group practices of preadolescent pupil in contrasting social and educational settings in Brazil and Germany. Based on a disctinction theoretical approach and referring to studies from the field from inequality research, school and youth research the reconstructive investigation aims on the production of social inequality in peer groups of preadolescent youth. Group discussions and biographic interviews have been carried out with preadolescents and analysed with the methodologic strategies of Grounded Theory and Documentary Method. Firstly, the study shows a broad variety on dimensions young people differenciate from others, including social categories, such as gender, class and race, but also other aspects, such as moral, religious or aesthetic matters. Secondly, it is shown how preadolescents generate these distinctive practices concerning their social identity and background. Thereby culture seems to be less important than gender and class. Finally, the special importance of the peergroup regarding the development of distinctive practices can be demonstrated by the triangulation of biographic and group-related material.