The Urban Review

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 141-180

First online:

Academic failure, student social conflict, and delinquent behavior

  • William T. PinkAffiliated withUrban Education, College of Education, University of Nebraska-Omaha

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This paper reviews key literature from several disciplinary and theoretical perspectives in exploring the relationship between various forms of academic failure in schools and a range of critical student attitudes and behaviors. It is argued that both the process of schooling, and the taken-for-granted assumptions which support this process, serve to manufacture, in large part, negative student attitudes and anti-social behaviors. The seeming conflict between survey and ethnographic data concerning the impact of academic failure is discussed within the context of competing explanatory paradigms. The paper concludes with a discussion of the ways in which differing data-gathering strategies might be combined to generate a more complete view of the everyday process and outcomes of schooling.