David le Breton : the adolescent scene : signs of identity

Peer culture is now replacing parent culture, transmission gives way to imitation. From now on one must measure up in the eyes of others, those of one’s age group, even if one must fight one’s parents in order to do this. One of the horrors of middle school and high school recess yards is to seen as the « buffoon » by failing to obtain the group’s approval, refusing a dare, or not displaying the right « brand » of clothes or shoes. Self esteem no longer comes from espousing the unanimous values that structure the social bond, it is no longer nourished in the mirror of elders or ancestors but in that of the peer group. The necessity for representation is found in both girls and boys, but not in the same manner.