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Globalizing the Streets

Globalizing the Streets: Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Youth, Social Control, and Empowerment

Michael Flynn
David C. Brotherton
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 334
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  • Book Info
    Globalizing the Streets
    Book Description:

    Not since the 1960s have the activities of resistance among lower- and working-class youth caused such anxiety in the international community. Yet today the dispossessed are responding to the challenges of globalization and its methods of social control. The contributors to this volume examine the struggle for identity and interdependence of these youth, their clashes with law enforcement and criminal codes, their fight for social, political, and cultural capital, and their efforts to achieve recognition and empowerment. Essays adopt the vantage point of those whose struggle for social solidarity, self-respect, and survival in criminalized or marginalized spaces. In doing so, they contextualize and humanize the seemingly senseless actions of these youths, who make visible the class contradictions, social exclusion, and rituals of psychological humiliation that permeate their everyday lives.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-50226-9
    Subjects: Population Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    This book is the stepchild of an academic conference, and as is often the case with stepchildren it has suffered a difficult development. It is a highly questionable tactic when seeking a readership beyond a few hundred professors and graduate students to advertise a book’s indebtedness to an academic conference, but this conference was no regular conference, and this book is no run-of-the-mill youth studies book. The conference, which bore the same name as this text, was “sharply rebuked” by then-Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (to our knowledge the only conference to earn such an honor during Giuliani’s eight-year reign), the chair...

  5. Part 1. Youth, Social Control, and Surveillance

    • 1. Youth Experiences of Surveillance: A Cross-National Analysis
      (pp. 15-30)
      Martin Ruck, Anita Harris, Michelle Fine and Nick Freudenberg

      As the long arm of late capitalism stretches globally, with a neoliberal agenda of privatization and “choice,” we witness a concomitant and not coincident proliferation of state-sponsored surveillance mechanisms, systems of criminal (in)justice that increasingly shape state relations with local communities of color through the particularly heavy scrutiny of youth. This chapter invites a global conversation about the proliferation of state-sponsored strategies of surveillance on youth, particularly youth of color and poverty, and their suspect relationship to creeping global capitalism.

      We report common findings of youth experiences of police surveillance across three studies in the United States, Canada, and Australia....

    • 2. From the Outside Looking In: Young People’s Perceptions of Risk and Danger in an East London Borough
      (pp. 31-44)
      Simon Hallsworth and Janet Ransom

      This chapter is written with the aim of revealing something of the day-to-day lives of poor working class males who live in one of London’s poorest areas, particularly as revealed to us in a series of focus groups we conducted with them. Although our aim is to describe the lives of these young men, we will not use perspectives already at play in academia and dominant policy agendas to help redescribe their lives. Instead, we use their testimonies to contest the essentializing assumptions inherent in many of these discourses.

      More specifically, by listening to what these young men have to...

  6. Part 2. Street Youth, Homelessness, and Displacement

    • 3. Living Free: Nomadic Traveling Among Homeless Street Youth
      (pp. 47-61)
      Marni Finkelstein, Richard Curtis and Barry Spunt

      Although studies of homeless populations have filled volumes of academic journals in recent years, the unique problems that confront homeless children and teens remain comparatively unexplored (Clark and Robertson 1996; Downing-Orr 1996; Greenblatt and Robertson 1993; Lundy 1993; McCarthy and Hagen 1992; Miner 1991; Pfeffer 1997; Research Triangle Institute 1995; Ringwalt et al. 1998; Robertson and Toro 1998; Ruddick 1996;). In the course of a year, an estimated 500,000 to 1.5 million youth in the United States run away from or are kicked out of their homes (Research Triangle Institute 1995; Ringwalt et al. 1998). Runaways from functional families often...

    • 4. Street Youth in New York City and São Paulo: Deconstructing the Striking Differences, Global Similarities, and Local Specificities
      (pp. 62-76)
      Benedito Rodrigues dos Santos

      Young children with scruffy, soiled clothing and dirty faces are routinely seen perambulando (roaming around) among working adults and youth, asking for money, sniffing glue, and sleeping on sidewalks around Praça da Sé in São Paulo City, a landmark of the foundation of the city and the stage for memorable social mobilizations and political demonstrations. They have become the image of street children most publicized both inside and outside Brazil. Immortalized by such depictions as Hector Babenco’s film Pixote: A Lei do Mais Fraco (Pixote: The Law of the Weakest), these images have become a visual representation of street have...

    • 5. Searching for Home: Russian Street Youth and the Criminal Community
      (pp. 77-92)
      Svetlana Stephenson

      Over the last fifteen years, the phenomenon of street children and youth in Russia has become a matter of serious national and international concern. Runaway children sleeping on underground pipes, teenagers begging or washing cars, young girls soliciting sex, groups of youngsters roaming the streets in school hours—until recently all these displays of youth dislocation were largely absent from the Russian urban landscape except in times of war and social catastrophes.¹ Runaway children were quickly picked up by the militia (the Russian term for police) and returned to their families or placed in residential care.

      Current anxieties about street...

  7. Part 3. Gangs and Street Cultures in the Globalized City

    • 6. Social Control and Street Gangs in Los Angeles
      (pp. 95-113)
      James Diego Vigil

      The study of gangs in Los Angeles must consider how social control has broken down and why troubled youth in low-income, ethnic minority neighborhoods come to join and participate in the destructive, unconventional activities that mark gang life (Klein 1995; Moore 1978, 1991; Vigil 1988a, 2002). Social control theory offers some important middle-ground insights in how this occurs and points the way toward grounded public policy strategies that address the sources of gang life. An examination of Chicano gang members in various barrios in the greater Los Angeles area will document how family, schooling, and law enforcement institutions, among other...

    • 7. Youth Subcultures, Resistance, and the Street Organization in Late Modern New York
      (pp. 114-132)
      David C. Brotherton

      In the last two decades, a number of researchers and theorists have described the hypermasculine, violent gang subcultures that have become common in U.S. ghettoes and barrios as a response to the multiple, intersecting forces of economic, social, and cultural marginalization inflicted on minority communities during a period of deindustrialization (Anderson 1999; Bourgois 1995; Hagedorn 1988; Moore 1991; Vigil 1988; Wilson 1987; Young 1999). Of course, although there are sharp disagreements as to who or what is responsible for these structured pathologies (see Wacquant 2002), with a vibrant debate around notions of the underclass, the historical consequences of U.S. racism,...

    • 8. Children of the Land, Fruit of the Ghetto
      (pp. 133-146)
      Ana Daza, David C. Brotherton, Gipsy Escobar and Michael Flynn

      In this chapter we describe and analytically trace the prosocial development of a youth street gang in Medellín, Colombia. Based on observational and interview data with gang members and community residents over a seven-year period, we examine the organizational emergence of this collective of young social bandits (Hobsbawm 1959) who fill the social and economic void left by dependency and an ineffectual state machine that is at best negligent and at worst complicit in the spiral of violent conflicts between paramilitaries, guerrillas, and street gangs (Salazar 1994). We trace the social history of a neighborhood and the context for a...

    • 9. Victimization, Resistance, and Violence: Exploring the Links Between Girls in Gangs
      (pp. 147-166)
      Dana M. Nurge and Michael Shively

      Recent research on female gangs has provided greater insight into girls’ diverse and complex roles in their groups and the strategies they use to navigate gendered power dynamics both in their groups and in the broader environment in which their groups exist. Although these accounts produce varied portraits of girls’ gang membership, some common threads have emerged. One such thread or theme to grow out of these works is that of resistance. Anne Campbell (1991) was one of the first scholars to describe urban adolescent girls’ gang membership as a temporary haven of sorts in which they collectively attempted to...

  8. Part 4. Youth, Violence, and Subcultures of Whiteness

    • 10. Ethnic Envy: How Teens Construct Whiteness in Globalized America
      (pp. 169-184)
      Randy Blazak

      We had a bit of a joke in my small Georgia town when I was a kid: “In the South there are only two ethnic groups, black and white.” It was a joke because in Stone Mountain, Georgia, in the late 1970s, there was one Jewish kid (Neil) and a few Catholic families (like the O’Briens). But if you wanted to go to a real Mexican restaurant, there was one over in Tucker, and for Chinese you had to go into Atlanta. There was a girl from Thailand in my school, or maybe it was Vietnam. The concept of diversity...

    • 11. An Extreme Response to Globalization: The Case of Racist Skinhead Youth
      (pp. 185-202)
      Pete Simi and Barbara Brents

      Globalization (the increasing oneness of culture) has bred a retrenchment of local identity and nationalist rhetoric everywhere it has touched, and the rise and trajectory of racist skinheads is one example of such phenomena. Emerging in Britain in the late 1960s and in Western Europe and the United States in the late 1970s, skinheads became one of the more violent youth reactions against the economic (i.e., highly mobile capital) and cultural changes (i.e., increasing “nonwhite” migration) endemic to a globalizing world. Skinheads embody what Castells (1997:61) calls territorial identity prevalent among new urban social movements: “Suddenly defenseless against a global...

    • 12. Columbine: The School Shooting as a Postmodern Phenomenon
      (pp. 203-215)
      Ralph W. Larkin

      The attack on Columbine High School by Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold was unprecedented in its ferocity, death toll, and conception. Just as Charles Manson planned and executed several high-profile killings in the late 1960s, including that of Sharon Tate, actress and wife of director Roman Polanski, in an effort to jumpstart a racial war by attributing their horrific crimes to African Americans, Harris and Klebold conceived of their assault as the opening battle in a revolt of oppressed young people against the depredations their higher-status peers who bullied, harassed, and humiliated them. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Americans witnessed...

    • 13. ’Cause Fightin’ Is Just Fightin’: Caucasian Youth, Violence, and Social Exclusion in a Globalized Age
      (pp. 216-232)
      Michael Flynn

      Afterwards I felt like I was ten feet tall. Like I was like, you know, nothing could stop me! Because we took on seven guys and I almost killed a guy. I almost killed a guy getting him thrown in front of a bus, you know, I hurt this kid real bad. I felt like such an adrenalin rush. I mean for weeks after that, I felt like, you know—if I wanted to I could climb Mount Everest.

      We still talk about it today. We still talk about it, how great it was. We call it the Bay Parkway...

  9. Part 5. Innovative Interventions and Youth in Crises

    • 14. Integrating Interventions: Outreach and Research Among Street Youth in the Rockies
      (pp. 235-261)
      Jean Scandlyn, Suzanne Discenza and James Van Leeuwen

      The household or family, however constituted, is the primary economic unit through which any person encounters the forces of the local, national, and global political economy. In households, wages are redistributed to care for the young and the old, and members learn the social and practical skills of daily life. Ideally, families also provide emotional support and care to their members, buffering them from vicissitudes in the larger society. The processes of globalization have restructured the labor market and the access of families to sources of income (Sassen 1991). Whereas some families achieve vast wealth and prosperity, many more must...

    • 15. Youth Force in the South Bronx
      (pp. 262-272)
      Barry Checkoway, Lisa Figueroa and Katie Richards-Schuster

      Why is it that in some of the nation’s most economically disinvested urban areas, young people are creating community change? What are some of the strategies they use, and what lessons can be learned from them?

      These questions challenge conventional thinking about these areas, which often are noted for their deficiencies and needs and for the services on which some residents become dependent, although they also have assets and resources with which to help themselves and build healthier communities. Their youth are portrayed as troubled or troubling, who themselves need services, although they too have resources on which to build...

    • 16. Motivating and Supporting Activist Youth: A View from Nonformal Settings
      (pp. 273-286)
      Leonisa Ardizzone

      I am a peace educator. What does that mean? Quite simply, it means that I believe education should facilitate personal transformation so that people can work for peace and social justice. I design and teach courses that promote the core values (planetary stewardship, humane relationship, global citizenship; see Reardon 1986) of peace using peace pedagogy (e.g., dialogue, inquiry). Peace education supports critical thinking, connection making, and global-mindedness. One of the primary goals of peace education is to understand the root causes of violence in all its forms. Therefore, as a peace educator, I often begin my analyses of social problems...

  10. Appendix: Agents of Change Responding to Violence and Exclusion
    (pp. 287-288)
    Donna DeCesare
  11. [Illustrations]
    (pp. 289-300)
  12. Contributors
    (pp. 301-306)
  13. Index
    (pp. 307-318)