Bases of prestige among high and low delinquent street-corner groups
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In order to determine differential bases of prestige, this study compared two age segments of a highly delinquent street-corner group with the two corresponding age segments of a moderately delinquent street-corner group. The corresponding age segments were matched for age, ethnicity, and religion. There were 116 boys in all. The data were obtained from the process records of "detached social workers" who observed the groups for periods averaging 18 months. These field data were subjected to a standardized content analysis system formulated within the cultural anthropological framework. A 19 percent random sample of prestige-oriented acts from this universe constituted the study population. IBM procedure was utilized to obtain tabulations of interaction with reference to cultural practices (drinking, fighting), sports, and club activities, and worker functions. Cultural practices and sportsclub activities were classified into those reflecting lower class, middle class, and adolescent behavior. This was supplemented by scanning the qualitative data. The findings showed that high delinquency was associated with lower social class, lack of father figures, high commitment to lower class behavior, and low in-volvement in age-linked adolescent activities. There was a noticeable lack of concern with middle class behavior. Conversely, moderate delinquenqy was related to somewhat higher social class, presence of father figures, less involvement in lower class behavior, and high commitment to adolescent supported behavior. This group also showed a negligible involvement in middle class behavior. It was apparent from the data that differential group functions reflected differential social organization and acculturation. The functions performed by the groups were related to aspects of lower class subculture. The greater involvement in lower class culture by the more delinquent groups, indicated that the etiology of delinquency can be better understood by further investigating that subculture. [TRUNCATED]
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Boston University
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