ERIC Number: EJ868527
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
The Core Ideals of the Mexican American Gang Living the Presentation of Defiance
Duran, Robert J.
Aztlan: A Journal of Chicano Studies, v34 n2 p99-134 Fall 2009
Current approaches to designing antigang policies overemphasize the notion that criminality is the defining characteristic of gangs and that solutions require a get-tough approach. As an ex-gang member, I conducted a five-year ethnographic study and a fourteen-year informal study of Mexican American street gangs in two Southwestern states to understand the persistence of gangs. I found that the obstacles that have been imposed on low-income, ethnic minority neighborhoods have led to an adaptive strategy for survival in which gangs play a central, albeit destructive, role. Gangs maintain their cohesiveness and longevity through four core ideals: displaying loyalty, responding courageously to external threats, promoting and defending gang status, and maintaining a stoic attitude toward the negative consequences of gang life. State-sponsored opposition to gangs only further solidifies these ideals. Pragmatic solutions will require rechanneling the collective energy of current and former gang members toward community empowerment.
Descriptors: Juvenile Gangs, Empowerment, Neighborhoods, Mexican Americans, Ethnography, Hispanic Americans, Public Policy, Crime
UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. 193 Haines Hall, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1544. Tel: 310-794-9380; Tel: 310-825-2642; Fax: 310-206-1784; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.chicano.ucla.edu/press
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A