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Defining popularity based on a set of core characteristics is difficult as the very definition is heavily context dependent. The way research has constructed popularity in relation to children and young people (8–18 years) has evolved over time. This entry examines how researchers have moved away from an ‘adult’ definition of popularity to consider the term from the perspective of the young person and their everyday experiences.

Popularity Research

The etymological roots of popularity lie in the Latin term ‘popularis’ (meaning, ‘accepted by the people’). This suggests the term describes a commonly held admiration of, or for, something or someone. Indeed, the Oxford English Dictionary defines popular as being liked or admired by a large number of people.

Popularity as a field of study emerged through the study ...

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