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The Social Structure of Urban Adolescent Peer Groups

Dexter C. Dunphy
Sociometry
Vol. 26, No. 2 (Jun., 1963), pp. 230-246
DOI: 10.2307/2785909
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2785909
Page Count: 17
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Abstract

In a field investigation of adolescent peer groups, five hierarchies of groups were located in suburban areas, each hierarchy consisting of two or three crowds. Each crowd was an association of from two to four cliques. The network of cliques within a hierarchy was maintained through a system of reciprocal role relationships between clique leaders and crowd leaders, who were objects of identification for their followers. In the crowd two distinct, mutually-supportive central roles were differentiated-crowd leader and sociocenter. The leader set the pace of social development while the sociocenter relieved the tension created by this pressure toward achievement of heterosexuality. Together the two roles preserved the equlibrium of the crowd system while maximizing the rate at which members learned a mature heterosexual role.

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