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Community Tolerance of Gang Violence

Ruth Horowitz
Social Problems
Vol. 34, No. 5 (Dec., 1987), pp. 437-450
DOI: 10.2307/800540
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/800540
Page Count: 14
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Community Tolerance of Gang Violence
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Abstract

This paper explores the maintenance of tolerance in relationships between community residents and violent gang members. How can parents and other non-gang residents experience their neighborhood as orderly and remain tolerant of violence when approximately five gang members are killed in their community each year? In the Chicano community I studied, gang members are not outsiders but are members of family networks in which they behave appropriately. I show that tolerance varies in degree and may be fragile, but that it is generally maintained through active negotiation between community residents and gang members. Locally, the meaning of gang violence is articulated within the cultural framework of honor which allows residents to understand, if not approve of gang violence. However, I also examine how this precarious negotiated order collapses and intolerance results when violent confrontations disrupt community affairs, such as dances or weddings, or when families become implicated in their sons' violent activities.

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