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Anchored Fluidity and Social Trust

Anchored Fluidity and Social Trust

(p.29) Two Anchored Fluidity and Social Trust
Navigating Conflict
Calvin MorrillMichael Musheno
University of Chicago Press

This chapter establishes a baseline for peer relations, meanings of campus space, and social trust at New West High School (NWHS) during the late 1990s. Drawing on ethnographic observations, in-depth interviews, youth-made photos, and youth sketch maps, the first half of the chapter identifies a form of freedom of association and spatial movement on campus that youth call “hangin’ out” and “movin’ around,” or, analytically anchored fluidity. This dynamic refers to youth grounding themselves in meaningful peer relations while engaging in mobility across diverse peer groups and space, including moving on and off interpersonal front- and backstages. Such space includes a variety of outdoor and indoor locales, including empty classrooms used as “sanctuaries” that teachers keep open and supportively monitor at lunch and before and after school. Anchored fluidity is the key social mechanism on campus that links social trust to conciliatory-remedial responses to peer trouble. The second half of this chapter examines the language youth use to articulate trust on campus and then explores the historical underpinnings for trust at NWHS by drawing from a century of archival evidence that points to the role of student organizations in collective civic action on campus.

Keywords:   anchored fluidity, backstage, collective civic action, frontstage, maps, social trust

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