Sociology: Social Cliques in High School

Essay by evey806High School, 11th gradeA+, February 2004

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Most every high school in America has its own set of "cliques" or social castes whose members mingle mostly within the one clique. Many schools have unique groups according to the area such as "surfers", "snow bunnies", and "hicks" referring to people who surf, snow ski/board, or take on more rural looks. However, most schools share some common groups such as "preppies" who are usually the upper class students with more money, "goths" who are earmarked by their usually black clothes and body piercings, "geeks/nerds" who are the scholarly students, "jocks" who participate in sports and school activities, and usually "cheerleaders" make up their own clique although most often belonging to the preppie group. No matter how integrated one may think their school is, it is more than likely that upon closer observation the discrimination between groups will become quite clear. After all, social cliques are a normal and healthy phase of adolescent life that aid in the learning of social norms and general cultural practices.

Many students interviewed by Matt Tabor, a collaborator for, agree that something as careless as who a child is placed next to on the first day of kindergarten can determine that child's future clique membership. A child's earliest companions will soon lead them through middle and high school, determining what caste they will become part of along the way. These cliques are the dynamic forces behind social blueprints in the high school setting; the clique you're in determines whom you associate with, what activities you're involved in, and whether or not your high school experience is a happy one (Kick That Clique, 2000).

The problem of the "clique" is starting earlier than ever. Because children are brought into social settings at ages as young as two years, they are thrust into a world...