ENG 101, Section 013

Ms. Vilhotti

October 7, 2007


A Sample Frame Presentation




“Hello, my name is Domenica Vilhotti.  The proposed title of my paper is:


Can “In” and “Out” Groups Happily Co-exist in a Youth Culture that Emulates Gang Life?

A Sociological Analysis of a Public School that Busses from Two Enemy Towns


The article I chose to critique is Gordon Allport’s “The Formation of In-Groups.”  I chose this article because, as a teacher in an often violent public school, I took issue with some of his main points, while I found that I did find truth in others.  His article consists of the following three main points:

1.      In-groups are formed by people who share a web of habits or characteristics.

a.       I actually refute this claim because I found that students who joined neighborhood gangs did so not out of a sense of common habits or characteristics, but rather due to two main factors 1) protection, and 2) intense peer pressure.  In fact, students from rival gangs were actually quite similar in all aspects except which town they were born in. 

2.      While in-groups benefit from shared hostility towards an out-group, this prejudice is not necessary to the survival of the in-group.

a.       I support this claim.  At one point, due to the intervention of a church group, our principal, and the local police, two rival gangs chose to hold a truce for over six months.  This truce ostensibly saved the lives or well-being of several prominent members until two of them were able get out of danger by moving in with family members in other parts of the state.  For this reason, hostility was indeed not necessary to the survival of the in-group.

3.      As long as two in-groups do not fulfill the same requirement (as long as they are different sized “circles”), a person can happily belong to both.

a.       I refute this claim.  Any student who tried to befriend or date within both gangs simultaneously, much less wear their colors indiscriminately, would have been seriously hurt or worse.

Overall, Allport’s theory is a strong one, but when considering a rural youth culture that does its best to emulate coastal gang life, it must be reconsidered and qualified.”