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The Cost of InclusionHow Student Conformity Leads to Inequality on College Campuses$
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Blake R. Silver

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226703862

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226704197.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

Centrifugal Pressure and Centripetal Elevation

Centrifugal Pressure and Centripetal Elevation

(p.118) 6 Centrifugal Pressure and Centripetal Elevation
The Cost of Inclusion

Blake R. Silver

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 6 shows that in the rarer instances where change in students’ self-presentation occurred, it happened in patterned ways. These patterns were propelled by twin social forces that Silver dubs centrifugal pressure and centripetal elevation. Female and racial/ethnic minority students who tried to craft identities as managers or educators were blocked from doing so through the application of centrifugal pressure. Pushed toward the margins of group life, they frequently became entertainers or associates. On the other hand, White male students who initially occupied less central places in groups benefited from centripetal elevation, whereby the deference and encouragement of peers drew them into central roles with greater authority. These forces further stratified student experiences and emotions in social groups. After exploring the intricacies of these phenomena, Silver discusses their broader impact on inequality in college extracurricular outlets. While more than 75% of White men came to occupy social roles—versions of the cookie-cutter self—that offered greater opportunity to feel valued or appreciated, less than 50% of women and very few racial/ethnic minority men did. The chapter concludes by discussing how these findings exist in tension with prevalent understandings of higher education as a place for growth and development.

Keywords:   development, elevation, emotions, extracurricular, female students, growth, inequality, pressure, racial/ethnic minority, student experiences

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