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Article

Anti-school attitudes, school culture and friendship networks

This article explores the relationship between educational outcomes and anti-school attitudes at different levels of social organization in schools. Data were collected in St. Petersburg, Russia (104 schools, 7300 students) and analyzed using multi-level regression models that included three levels: individual, clique of friends and school. A clique is defined as a tight group of friends in a school class; we used social network analysis software Kliquefinder for clique identification. We demonstrate that friends’ attitudes are strongly related to the educational outcomes of a student (net of person’s individual attitudes and socio-demographic characteristics). In contrast, school-level effects disappear in the multi-level model when individual characteristics are included. The results of the study clearly demonstrate that the socio-economic and curricular differentiation of schools does not always lead to the polarization of ‘school academic cultures’. A school social environment is sufficiently heterogeneous, and different value systems in small peer groups may coexist.