Secondary Data Analysis-Literature Review In the article “Violence, Older Peers, and the Socialization of Adolescent Boys in Disadvantage Neighborhoods” David J. Harding stated that “most theoretical perspectives on neighborhood effects on youth assume that neighborhood context serves as a source of socialization, but the exact sources and processes underlying adolescent socialization in disadvantaged neighborhoods are largely unspecified and unelaborated”. What Harding is saying is that most adolescent boys tend to look up to older boys in their disadvantaged neighborhoods which most often lead to crimes and violence.
This is primarily because the young adolescent boys believe that fitting in with the older boys is one of the only ways they feel socially accepted. In disadvantaged neighborhoods, young children are thought through differential exposure, behavioral models or cultural ideas how to make decisions from schooling and also to romantic relationships. Wilson’s isolation theory argues that the people that live in poor neighborhoods are most often isolated from middle class and mainstream social groups, organizations, and institutions due to the lack of jobs.
Social isolation is known for creating cultural isolation, which also comes with a lack of educational and labor market opportunities. While social isolation tells us the consequences of disadvantaged neighborhoods; social organization theory tell us community capacity for social control which argues that disadvantaged neighborhoods lead to chaos rather than order. Social organization helps us compare and contrast neighborhood crimes, violence, and delinquency. Social organization predicts the level of violence and also how the residents respond to violence.
Sharkey (2006) shows us that adolescents in neighborhoods with higher levels of collective efficacy have greater street efficacy that perceived ability to avoid violence and victimization in their neighborhoods. Social organization can have consequences other than violence, for example, education and sexual behavior. When a community can not control violence, the social networks of adolescents are affected, and therefore their socialization can also be affected. In order to understand poor neighborhoods you must understand their gang life.
Thrasher (1927) stated that conflict with other gangs is a central element in gang life, and gang warfare erupts over status as well as over economic assets, territory, and the safety of members. Short and Strodtbeck (1965) argue that violence is the center point of gang because violence maintains and establishes leadership roles in their neighborhood or community. In this article they conducted unstructured interviews with 60 adolescent boys age 13 to 18 living in three African-American neighborhoods in Boston, with 20 boys per area. Also, 80 percent of the boys had their parent or guardian interviewed.
They focus on boys because of boys are most common to be involved in street violence. In order to understand how the boys lived in their neighborhoods, the interviews investigated how the boys map their neighborhoods as geographic and social spaces and how they overlap with their social networks, daily travel, and institutions. In these qualitative studies find out the differences of why each neighborhood had a different crime rate of violence by asking similar questions and talking about the same topics. At the end of the study they found out that all the boys in the different neighborhoods interacted with older adolescents and young adults.
The strategies that the boys in the disadvantaged neighborhoods use to deal with violence and victimization can have unintended consequences. The younger boys model after the older peers which reflect their decisions in schooling and romantic relationships. Some of the older peers who are positive role models are not in the neighborhood because they are usually in work or school more often. The younger boys are more influenced by the negative older boys because they tend to be in the neighborhood much more often than the positive older peers.
Based on the research this article provides, it indicates that the adolescent boys in the three areas of the Boston neighborhoods show that older and younger adults are an important source of socialization for boys in poor neighborhoods. This tells us the pathway of how the neighborhood is going to be socialized. The article uses the qualitative data which shows the cause and consequences that prove that their theory was right. One issue with the researchers is that they didn’t know if the young girl in the poor neighborhood was also affected by older peers.
The reason why they couldn’t find that answer was because the research they used was only limited to young boys in poor neighborhoods. Also, the neighborhoods are small compared to Chicago and Los Angeles neighborhoods and Boston neighborhoods don’t have large race based gangs. But what we do know is that violence is a critical characteristic of poor neighborhoods, which is part of the young boys’ daily lives. Reference * David J. Harding, University of Michigan, Violence, older peers, and the socialization of adolescent boys in disadvantaged neighborhoods, American Sociological review, 2009, (June: 445-464)
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