Fighting for Respect in Urban High Schools
by Annette Hemmings — 2003
This article explores the crisis of respect needed to establish authority in two urban public high schools. The crisis was fueled by discourses with conflicting speech and normative codes that undermined the moral order in classrooms and corridors and caused students and teachers to fight for respect. In classrooms, the battles for respect were fought in defense of the dominant educational regime and control over the daily regimen of pedagogical practice. In corridors, students moved between the opposing poles of mainstream respectability and streetwise reputation as they vied for power in peer relations. The article concludes with recommendations for resolving the fight based on school-wide reform efforts and for addressing the conflicting discourses in a manner that engenders mutual respect between teachers and students in urban public high schools.
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