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Many researchers rely on college undergraduates as subjects for studies of human behavior. For Kathleen A. Bogle, an assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at LaSalle University who trained her scholarly lens on the students themselves, focusing on that cross-section was part of the de. When people talk about "hooking up," they're referring to a subculture with a complex set of rules and expectations.
Not surprisingly, most of what they know about student "hookup" culture comes from alarmist news reports of "risky sex" and the American Pie movies, not serious scholarship. In her new book, Hooking Up: Sex, Dating, and Relationships on Campus New York University Press,Bogle wields the tools of the sociologist, employing in-depth interviews with students and graduates from two unnamed universities -- one a large East Coast public university, the other a smaller Roman Catholic institution in the Northeast -- and placing the culture of hooking up in a historical context.
She answered questions via e-mail, shedding light on what she calls the "center of college social life. Q: Your book is a scholarly take on an issue with popular appeal. Who's the intended audience? A: I wrote this book with several audiences in mind, including college administrators, parents and college students. I hoped administrators and student life personnel would read it to figure out what is going on in the lives Fit student looking to hookup their students and how the hookup culture is related to some of the major residence-life issues, such as alcohol use and sexual assault.
I also believe Hooking Up is ideal for adoption in a variety of courses because it will engage students and help them to understand how personal experiences are tied to larger issues in society. Q: You note that the vast majority of students and alumni you interviewed were white and heterosexual. Was that unavoidable? How does your sample, and how it was chosen, affect your findings? A: I chose a primarily white, heterosexual sample for two reasons.
First, most of the students at both universities I studied fit into those demographic. Second, my research and literature Fit student looking to hookup that how men and women form sexual and romantic relationships varies by race and sexual orientation. Therefore, I had to limit the scope of my study in order to be able to draw conclusions about the dominant culture on campus. Although I do touch on how non-whites and other marginalized groups form sexual and romantic relationships on campus in my book, fully exploring this issue is an entire study itself.
Q: How much of your interviews reveal what students perceive about hookup culture -- that is, what they hear from their friends and expect from popular culture -- as opposed to what actually happens on campus? Are their responses reflecting personal experience, wishful thinking, or both?
A: I asked students about their general perceptions of college students, perceptions of their peer group and their own behavior. What I found is that students tend to overestimate what their peers are doing. In other words, students often perceive that others hook up more often and go farther sexually during hookup encounters. I hope that my book can help clear up these distorted perceptions so that students can make choices based what is really going on.
Q: Recent reports about the hookup culture and "friends with benefits" have been seen by some as a cause for alarm. How does your study differ from s? A: I tried to take a more evenhanded approach than commentators have on this subject. Where others have focused primarily on the most extreme behavior, I found that hooking up represents a wide range of behavior. I tried to present a realistic view Fit student looking to hookup the hookup culture by including the voices of those who participate in moderate degrees and those who do not participate at all.
I also think that in comparing hooking up to dating, other commentators have shown the dating era through rose-tinted glasses. Research on dating indicates that it was less than ideal. So I tried to present my findings about hooking up in a more accurate historical context. A: This is really an empirical question that I cannot answer given that I did not interview students who went to college 10 or 20 years ago.
So, while I cannot answer if it was fundamentally different in the past, I can say hooking up was happening 20 years ago. Q: Do instant messaging, Facebook and text messages play a ificant role in your assessment of hooking up on campus? Are such tools altering the way students meet potential sexual partners? A: Hooking up existed long before instant messaging, Facebook or text messaging became part of how young people interact.
However, these forms of communication do make it increasingly easy for students to interact in a more informal way. For example, in the dating era, interaction was very formal and required a certain amount of planning. Typically, a man placed a phone call to a woman several days in advance to ask her on a date to a specific place at a specific time. In the contemporary hookup culture, activity is much more spur-of-the-moment and casual. Q: Is there something unique about colleges and universities that fosters the kind of sexual climate you describe? Were there any particular differences between the Roman Catholic institution and the state university you studied?
What about fraternity and sorority settings versus dorms and off-campus housing? A: The college environment is very conducive to hooking up. On campus there is a relatively homogenous population of young men and women living in close proximity to each other with no strictly enforced rules monitoring their behavior. All of these things factor into why the hookup culture flourishes on campus. Regarding the faith-based [Roman Catholic] versus the state university in my study, both institutions were the same in terms of hooking up being the dominant script for forming sexual and romantic relationships on campus.
When I asked students at the faith-based university if they believed that the religious affiliation of their university affected hooking up in any way, most of them believed the religious connection did not make a difference. Regarding fraternity and sorority settings, fraternity members were among the most likely to hook up frequently with a large of different partners. Given that fraternity houses often host parties where vast quantities of alcohol are being served, it is not surprising that fraternity members find themselves in an environment particularly conducive to hooking up.
As other researchers have noted, both the pledging process of many fraternities and common fraternity practices e. Q: Some recent studies have suggested that hookup culture more negatively impacts females than males. Did you find any evidence for differing effects on the genders? A: The hookup culture definitely affects the genders differently in at least two important ways.
First, women are far more likely than men to get a bad reputation for how they conduct themselves in the hookup culture. Women can get a bad reputation for many different things, including how often they hook up, who they hook up with, how far they go sexually during a hookup, and how they dress when they go out on a night where hooking up may happen. Second, women are not getting what they want from the hookup system.
This puts women in a difficult situation. If they do not hook up at all, they are left out of the dominant culture on campus and will likely have difficulty finding opportunities to form sexual and romantic relationships with the opposite sex. However, if they do hook up, they have to walk a fine line to make sure they do so in a way that makes them a part of the mainstream on campus without crossing the line and getting negatively labeled. Q: You devote a section to how the hookup culture morphs after college.
Does hooking up in college handicap students for post-graduation life?
A: It is really difficult to measure how hooking up affects people psychologically as they age and move into post-college relationships and eventually marriage; however, I do know what happens behaviorally. When students leave college, there is a discernable shift to more formal dating. But the transition to the post-college dating scene was not necessarily an easy one. Q: Can traditional dating survive alongside "hooking up"? Should the two paradigms coexist, or are they merging into a single overall "script" that students follow?
A: I think traditional dating is surviving alongside of hooking up in the larger culture, but on campus hooking up has replaced dating as the primary means for students to meet and form sexual and romantic relationships. This does not mean that students never go out for dinner and a movie. In other words, the pathway to a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship where a couple might go on a date begins with hooking up.
In the dating era, students would go on a date, which might lead to something sexual happening; in the hookup era, students hook up, which might lead to dating. This is a reversal of the traditional order of things. The problem is that many college men are pleased with the status quo; they can hook up and if they want to pursue an ongoing relationship they can, but they are under no obligation to do so. I think that phrase actually underscores an important issue: Many students are struggling with the hookup system.
For those students who are having trouble making sense of it all, I hope my book will help shed some light on both what is happening and why it is happening. We have retired comments and introduced Letters to the Editor. Share your thoughts ». Expand comments Hide comments. Advertise About Contact Subscribe. Coronavirus Live Updates - 14 hours 47 min ago. Topics Books and Publishing. The Sociology of 'Hooking Up'.
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The Prevalence of Hook-Up Culture on College Campuses Is Completely Exaggerated