UIC study finds that anime fans are near bottom of HS social hierarchy.

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#1 Posted by loco145 (12126 posts) -

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Texas at Austin, have found that while many high school peer crowds and influences have remained constant over time, changing demographics, cultural influences and the increasing number of college-bound youth have led to the emergence of new peer groups and perceptions.

The study, which is published in the Journal of Adolescent Research, captured the perspectives and experiences of 61 recently graduated, ethnically diverse students through a series of semi-structured 90-minute focus groups. The participants, born between 1990 and 1997, were ages 19 to 26 and enrolled in two U.S. universities at the time of the focus groups, during which they were asked to describe the peer crowds that were most common in their high schools.

The researchers, led by UIC’s Rachel Gordon, audio-recorded and transcribed the discussions, then analyzed the data by coding themes from the students’ responses.

They identified 12 peer crowds and their positions in the social hierarchy.


Were you at the bottom of the hierarchy!?

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#2 Posted by J_Mouse_Balls (11 posts) -

Yes the kids envy “streamers” which is downright laughable.

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#3 Posted by MirkoS77 (14122 posts) -

Glad to know I was at the very bottom.

Although I can take comfort in the fact that high school is not necessarily someplace where I desired to be at the top of the social hierarchy. I didn't want to be there at all, people suck in high school.

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#4 Edited by jun_aka_pekto (25244 posts) -

I guess I belonged to the floater group (HS varsity sports and academics) and Good-Ats although I was perfectly fine with doing my own thing as a lone-wolf. I never took interest in being the focus of attention. If it's biology alone, I'd be a normal (invisible and unknown).

It even shows in many games I play. I have no interest in superhero games or watching superhero movies. I like being a small part of a bigger whole like in strategy games or the solitude of flying around alone in a flight sim. Same goes for open-world games where I'm just a tiny speck.

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#5 Posted by warmblur (2344 posts) -

In High School I was a stoner loner so if that puts me on the bottom good.

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#6 Posted by HEATHEN75 (685 posts) -

Lol! Druggie/Stoner here. Things have changed since the early 90's. I'd say we were at the top of tier 2 back then.

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#7 Posted by DaVillain- (36455 posts) -

Anime/Manga it is for me and I love video games to death.

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#8 Posted by watercrack445 (1547 posts) -

That is what high school is about, social hierarchy. That is why everybody in the USA is dumb.

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#9 Posted by Speeny (1622 posts) -

Luckily the whole social hierarchy thing is only mainly a thing in the states. We don't really have that here in Australia. In my opinion the education system is absolutely jacked up in the US. No offence. Just the way myself & a lot of other people see it. But, this was funny to look at nonetheless. lol

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#10 Posted by X_Karen_x (500 posts) -

How may i help you?

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#11 Posted by Lord_Daemon (24525 posts) -

There is no such thing as social hierarchy in American schools. There are no "popular" kids that other students long to be like. It's purely a myth constantly pushed by the entertainment industry.

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#12 Posted by jun_aka_pekto (25244 posts) -
@watercrack445 said:

That is what high school is about, social hierarchy. That is why everybody in the USA is dumb.

Meh. It's not like I was looking for the social crap. Social hierarchy are also in many HS outside the US.

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#13 Edited by Jag85 (13477 posts) -

You should've quoted the part of the article that actually explains it:

UIC study details how today’s high school cliques compare to yesterday’s

"Other groups were shaped by current events, popular culture and social media. Gordon highlighted three examples from the study:

  • the emergence of the “anime/magna” peer crowd, which she said is a modern incarnation of a classic “computer geek” crowd that is likely promoted by a sharing of cultures on the Internet"

In other words, there was no such thing as an "anime/manga" peer crowd in previous high-school generations, but this is a contemporary phenomenon of the 2010s. What it's saying is that the "computer geeks" who were near the bottom in the past have now evolved into "anime/manga geeks" today. In the past, computer geeks were often synonymous with gamers and comic-book nerds. But after video games and comic-book movies became mainstream, anime/manga has replaced them as the new niche associated with computer geeks. And now, the anime/manga crowd and the computer-geek crowd have merged together into a single group (think 4chan). It's also worth noting that this study is very specific to American high-schools of the 2010s, and doesn't tell us anything about the rest of the world.

There's also this:

  • List of highest-grossing media franchises
  • 'Anime will only get stronger,' as Pokémon beats Marvel as highest grossing franchise

Many of the highest-grossing media franchises in the world are anime/manga-related franchises. The biggest media franchise of all time is Pokemon, and there are also a bunch of other anime/manga-related franchises among the world's highest-grossing franchises, including the likes of Hello Kitty, Anpanman, Shonen Jump, Gundam, Dragon Ball, Fist of the North Star, Yu-Gi-Oh, One Piece, Evangelion, Naruto, Sailor Moon, etc. While many are mainstream franchises popular in Western markets, others are only mainstream in Asian markets. But it shows there is a clear distinction between mainstream anime/manga that ordinary folks are casually familiar with, and the niche anime/manga that only hardcore anime/manga geeks are into. It's the latter which has a negative stigma, not the former.

Anyway, here's my own UK perspective over the decades:

When I first got into anime in the '90s, it was commonly associated with violent anime videos published by Manga Entertainment, e.g. Akira, Fist of the North Star, Ghost in the Shell, Ninja Scroll, Street Fighter Animated Movie, etc. So much so that the term "manga" was often used to refer to anime, because those violent Manga Entertainment videos were synonymous with anime at the time. While anime were fairly niche back then, they were usually considered "cool" (even among popular kids at my school), because they were "mature" compared to Western cartoons. Then came the next phase around the late '90s to early 2000s, when anime suddenly exploded in mainstream popularity, with the likes of Pokemon, Dragon Ball, Sailor Moon, Spirited Away, Naruto, etc. becoming household names. The overall perception of anime was mostly positive during this time. And then came the next phase, when the greater mainstream proliferation of anime/manga over the internet in the 2000s led to the exposure of all the latest trash (and perverse smut) from Japan.... Hence the negative stigma that has since arisen around anime/manga over the last decade or so.

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#14 Edited by mrbojangles25 (43916 posts) -

Stoner-floater, here...if have to choose a label :P Ahhhh high school, the bad ol' days.

I was in band but also played football, was a huge nerd but also hung out with jocks. But also bad self-esteem and such.

I hung out with everyone, people ascribe labels too readily imo.

I didn't really know too many people then that were into anime to the extent people are now these days. People watched Dragon Ball Z and maybe a few Gundam Wing when I was a kid but that's about it. THis was late-90's though I know there's a lot more available now than previously.

@Lord_Daemon said:

There is no such thing as social hierarchy in American schools. There are no "popular" kids that other students long to be like. It's purely a myth constantly pushed by the entertainment industry.

There is, just not to the extent movies make it out to be. Jocks won't be like "Ugh wtf are you doing?" if a goth comes up and starts talking to them, but generally speaking jocks hang out with jocks, goths hang out with other goths, and so forth.

@jun_aka_pekto said:
@watercrack445 said:

That is what high school is about, social hierarchy. That is why everybody in the USA is dumb.

Meh. It's not like I was looking for the social crap. Social hierarchy are also in many HS outside the US.

It also, unfortunately, can form in the work place.

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#15 Posted by comp_atkins (35676 posts) -

i was a brain jock in hs... so i guess that's a "good at"? my school wasn't particularly large so there was a lot of intermingling between groups simply because there had to be. hung out w/ people considered to be in a lot of those different groups. no one seemed to care much.

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#16 Posted by uninspiredcup (33269 posts) -

So was Bill Gates.

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#17 Posted by Mandzilla (4084 posts) -

Well that chart kinda lines up with every American high school film I've ever seen. Don't remember things being that cliquey when I was at school here in the UK, maybe we're just boring that way.

Hmm, now I'm wondering if there's a GS social hierarchy. 🙄

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#18 Edited by Fsrgon (12 posts) -

@watercrack445: It's what all societies are about. If you're not accepted in the USA for being a druggie anime loving gothic loner, why do you think it'll be different elsewhere?

This study should be no surprise. Nobody in the real world wants to hear who your favourite "waifu" is from some high-school all-cast girl anime. Christ. Even in Japan that obsession is frowned upon. Welcome to the real world.

Study should also have added 4Chan users in. Although I guess they're accounted for as the loners.

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#19 Edited by Jag85 (13477 posts) -

@mandzilla: Agreed. The social cliques in those American high-school movies/shows had very little resemblance to sixth-form life in the UK. That chart is pretty much what we've seen in so many American high-school movies/shows, but with the comic/gamer/computer geeks now replaced by anime/manga geeks.

@fsrgon: But that's not what all societies are about. The chart is very specific to American high-schools. It certainly doesn't apply to the UK, despite being culturally closer to America than any other country. And it's not considered unusual to be watching anime, but plenty of popular kids casually watch anime (at least the popular mainstream stuff). However, the weird/bizarre/creepy aspects of anime/manga fandom would obviously be frowned upon anywhere (e.g. cosplay, waifu, husbando, hentai, loli, etc.). There's a big difference between casual anime viewers (who could be from any clique) and the more hardcore anime/manga fandom (which could be considered their own specific clique).

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#20 Posted by Mandzilla (4084 posts) -

@Jag85: Yeah, exactly. The only clique I remember were the smoker/stoner kids, but that's only because they had to go outside school gates at same time to smoke.