I have recently being thinking about what popularity means within the school context. Now, alot of literature that I have being reading suggests that popularity refers to how well liked someone is . However, I was thinking about what the 'popular' group was like when I was at school. The popular group at my school were those who were into partying, boys, fashion, taking risks and always looked good. They seemed to do reasonably ok at school and were quite confident. However, they weren't necessarily liked by their peers but they were idolised. It was strange because although no one really liked them, but most people wanted to be them!
So I'm finding a bit of a clash in definitions. Because I'm getting the sense that the popular kids by definition are the 'good', involved, smart and well liked kids. This could also have something to do with the American literature.
Sternberg (1993) does suggest that popularity is a bit paradoxical.
Here is the quote from Sternberg (1993) about paradoxical popularity
" There are limits to the number of friendships that anyone person can maintain. Because popular girls get a high number of affiliative offers, they have to reject more offers of friendships than other girls. Also, to maintain their higher status, girls who form the elite group must avoid associations with lower status girls.. These girls are likely to ignore the afflilative attempts of many other girls, leading to the impression that they are stuck-up. Shortly after these girls reach their peak of popularity, they become increasing disliked" (p. 183)
This doesn't really solve my dilemma so I thought I'd got your comments about whether the popular group at your school were 'good', involved, smart and well liked kids? or were they a bit deviant? or a bit of both?
Sternberg, L. (1993) Adolescence 3rd ed. McGraw-Hill, Inc. New York.