Sociology Faculty Publications

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Adolescents interact with a variety of peers, in addition to the close friends generally emphasized in the literature. In this article I contrast the style and content of the communications directed to close friends and other youths characterized by varying degrees of ''nearness and remoteness.'' The handwritten messages found in high school yearbooks are analyzed and used to illustrate some of the distinct features of each type of discourse. This analysis suggests that while intimate relations undoubtedly play a key role in development, adolescents also learn a great deal about themselves and the social world they must navigate through their interactions with the wider circle of friends.

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American Journal of Sociology


University of Chicago Press

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Sociology Commons