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Social success skills: Black male high school students' perspectives on society and their media experiences

, Teachers College, Columbia University, United States

Teachers College, Columbia University . Awarded


This dissertation's purpose was to better understand how messages received through different cultural mediums influences the development of social success skills. Black male students were chosen as the focal participants for this year-long study because they are included among the groups whose social success skills development are thought to be disproportionately negatively affected by media and stereotypes that are present in our society. On average, non-Whites and individuals from low income families seldom realize the same levels of economic, professional and academic success Whites and individuals from higher income neighborhoods are likely to achieve.

The stereotypes present in our society and reinforced by media include beliefs about varying skills, traits and levels of success students from different cultural groups are expected to display. As a result, an increasing number of individuals are acknowledging and researching multiple ways that various forms of media influence the societies and cultures in which children live. I am particularly interested in collecting information that will be beneficial to socially conscious media producers with prosocial product development goals.

When considered from a sociocultural perspective, the mediated lives of youth can be better understood by learning about the social processes present in the environments in which they partake in their media experiences. I used a phenomenological research approach to develop an understanding of the social processes that occur during each experience. Semi-structured interviews, focus group sessions, and observations were the data collection methods used to better understand the personal experiences of each participant.

This study's results generated two theories and a set of guidelines. Social Success Mediation Theory states that the ideas formed about social success are mediated by the social role models, social success narratives and the social communities associated with an individual's media experiences and social experiences. Mediated Production Activity Theory hypothesizes that the social context surrounding the development and experiencing of media products requires the use of various tools for intrapersonal processing, interpersonal communication and broadcast communication. Lastly, this study introduces Culturally Relevant Media Production, a set of criteria socially conscious media producers can use to produce effective instructional entertainment content.


Degand, D. Social success skills: Black male high school students' perspectives on society and their media experiences. Ph.D. thesis, Teachers College, Columbia University. Retrieved July 24, 2021 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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