How High School Reunions Connect Us With the Past

by: Ellen C. Caldwell
for JSTOR Daily

High school reunions have long been important markers of time, integral parts of managing and presenting identity.

Of course, many have noted that reunions have lost some of their oomph in the time of social media. But the practice continues nonetheless, and in Vered Vinitsky-Seroussi and Robert Zussman’s 1996 study of high school reunions, they argue that reunions “are a critical vantage point from which to make sense of issues of identity in contemporary America.” Because reunions are anchored in the past, they give scholars a unique opportunity to study “an intersection of the past with the present,” offering a view into the many ways in which people construct their own inward and outward senses of identity.

Vinitsky-Seroussi and Zussman note some of the rituals that have become part of reunion attendance, describing these “remarkably extensive” preparations, including getting hair and makeup done, purchasing new outfits, going on diets, and even quitting, finding, or inventing jobs or relationships (see Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion)…

Read the rest here at JSTOR Daily.

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