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ERIC Number: ED249319
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Dec
Pages: 32
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Cultural Inversion and Black Children's School Performance.
Fordham, Signithia
This paper is concerned with the relationship between black adolescents' performance on school measures of success, particularly as this performance is perceived to be indicative of their intellectual and academic capabilities and their group identity. The paper's basic premise is that many black adolescents have made the decision not to seek assimilation into the dominant structures of the social system; rather, they adopt "cultural inversion," a cultural innovation in which group solidarity, advancement, and identity take precedence over individual achievement and/or mobility. First, theoretical and ethnographic literature on how a social group might respond to domination is reviewed. The educational implications of cultural inversion are then discussed from a cross-cultural perspective. Following this, it is asserted that cultural inversion is a prevalent response of black adolescents in the school context, and that it has widespread implications in that it reinforces and encourages "nonlearning." Ethnographic evidence is presented to support this assertion. In conclusion, the paper suggests that the phenomenon of cultural inversion may explain why remedial programs, including school desegregation which is intended to eliminate cultural groups, do not facilitate higher school performance. (Author/GC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Cultural Inversion
Note: Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association (81st, Washington, DC, December 3-7, 1982).