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Hallway Hangers And The Brothers

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In his research Jay Macleod, compares two groups of teenage boys, the Hallway Hangers and the Brothers. Both groups of teenagers live in a low income neighborhood in Clarendon Heights, but they are complete opposites of each other. The Hallway Hangers, composed of eight teenagers spend most of their time in the late afternoon or early evening hanging out in doorway number 13 until very late at night. The Brothers are a group of seven teenagers that have no aspirations to just hang out and cause problems, the Brothers enjoy active pastimes such as playing basketball. The Hallway Hangers all smoke, drink, and use drugs. Stereotyped as "hoodlums," "punks," or "burnouts" by outsiders, the Hallway Hangers are actually a varied group, and much can be learned from considering each member (Macleod p. 162). The Brothers attend high school on a regular basis and none of them participate in high-risk behaviors, such as smoke, drink, or do drugs.

According to Charon, culture is one of the social patterns in society. It arises in social interaction. It is taught in social interaction. Culture is made up of three smaller sets of patterns: (1) rules, (2) beliefs, and (3) values (Charon p. 56). For these two peer croups, the contrast in their lifestyles and culture can be attributed to the influence, involvement, and expectations of their parents. The parents of the Brothers expect that their children will do well in school, they expect them to stay out trouble, and to refrain from the use of drugs and alcohol. Thus, from their families, the Brothers take away a contradictory outlook. On the one hand, they see that hard work on the part of their parents has not gotten them very far, an implicit indictment of the openness of the opportunity structure. On the other hand, they are encouraged by these same people to have high hopes for the future (Macleod p. 167). In contrast, the Hallway Hangers' families do not hold high aspirations, they do not expect that their children do well in school, stay out of trouble, or refrain from the use of drugs. In fact they have very little influence in their children's lives. It is not that the parents don't want the best for their children, they are just afraid to set them up for failure. The Hallway Hangers have seen their older siblings and other friends fail in school. As a result, they hold a firm belief that children from higher economic backgrounds have a better chance at succeeding in school. Thus, the Hallway Hangers question their own capacity to perform well in school, a view that informs their assessment of the chances for social mobility (Macleod p. 164).

A primary group is a small, relatively permanent, intimate, and unspecialized group that develops a sense of "we"; a face-to-face group that entails close emotional ties. A type of group that is less characteristic of groups in modern society where impersonality and individualism tend to dominate (Charon p. 327). The Hallway Hangers know as a group that work is highly important in order to support them. The boys have all held summer time jobs. All of them, except for one of the members have pursued fulltime work, but none have been able to obtain meaningful employment. Every time one of them thinks they have a decent job, something happens and it doesn't work out for them. This type of firsthand experience in the job market further deflates any illusions they might have had about the openness of the opportunity structure (Macleod p. 164). In contrast, the Brothers as a group look forward to a more optimistic future where work is the central goal. For this group, work is an exclusively summer-time affair, in fact only one member is on the job



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