One of the perineal obstacles in this line of work, disability advocacy, is social inclusion and integration. To do this, I have suggesting things like extracurricular exchange programs in which clubs and sports would exchange members to decrease prejudice between the cliques and subcultures through what in social psychology is known as contact theory and thereby reduce the insularity of the cliques and make the subjects of the program more open to more people. That should, if implemented, make significant progress in decreasing prejudice and making more people accepted in society. Especially if it starts in, say, middle school. Yet, that is an active program that isn’t self-sustaining. Such programs require constant expense and attention. A strategy that would work well independently but especially in concert with that would be what I term “network theory” which reimagines how cliques organize by making diversity in the self-interest of people.
An old troupe is it that the popular peak young and the unpopular get their reward in the metaphorical afterlife of adulthood. If only reality had that much poetry. Yet, there is certainly truth in it in that most subcultures and cliques have assets to offer each other if they cooperate and these assets will go unrealized if such cooperation fails to happen. Prosocial classes were only taught to my people, the SPED kids, when I was in school and I have said on this blog before that neurotypicals need their social skills developed a lot. As a part of those social skills the students should be implored to be capitalists. Traditionally, popular kids arise from physical traits and ability combined with family name and socioeconomic background. Most of that is a genetic lottery and a class system based on genetic lottery is feudalism. The students should learn that the broader a spectrum of contacts at their disposal, the more power they have to advance whatever cause, selfish or altruistic, they wish to pursue.
To use a stereotypical example, a cheerleader and a nerd working on developing an app would have one side doing the social marketing and the other doing the computer science. This is a different way of thinking about success. Instead of trying to get access based on that genetic lottery, people would look for less superficial traits and diverse opinions and believe that that is a more lucrative road to success than the alternative. Telling people and trying to get them to be good for good reasons is very difficult and it is far easier to get them to do good for selfish reasons. The end result is the same, with more contact and exposure with other types of people, earnest friendships will develop and clique borders will weaken. A more empathetic and cosmopolitan outlook will descend upon most people who adopt that thinking but the initial bait, what draws them to it, are the self-interested and greedy perks to the system.
It is called network theory because it encourages people to gage their place in society less by their position with regards to access but more with regards to the utility of their assets. In other words, the whistle of the machine of their network and not how special and valued they, as an individual, are in relation to the caste system in which they find themselves. It is bringing the bourgeois revolutions of the Enlightenment down on the aristocratic traditions of youth culture. The idea that what you’re made of is more important than who you are to the system. That the brain and the soul are equal to the body in importance to your social value. It is a fairer system and one with great potential to alleviate suffering and also to tap into yet unrealized potential since this is not only a youth problem but, to a lesser but still significant degree, an adult problem too. If the machines of the networks are working at full efficiency then our productivity and innovation can greatly increase. It is beauty of capitalism and from this Bernie Sanders supporter, I say that with an ironic smirk.