Urban sociological research posits a strong correlation between social isolation and the growth in illicit activities of street culture, namely the drug trade and violent gang activities. However, in this article we offer an explanation for why, even in the absence of extreme poverty and social isolation from mainstream institutions, youths in Cambridge, Massachusetts feel vulnerable to illicit street cultural activities. We also offer an explanation for why these youths perceive the effects of social dislocation to be similar to that experienced by youths from larger central cities. As we will elaborate below, some students in Cambridge are affected by illicit street cultural activities because: (1) social dislocation is a relative phenomenon and not merely an absolute phenomenon as described by William J. Wilson; (2) there is a social dislocation spill‐over effect from larger central cities that intensifies or amplifies the experiences of youths in the relatively poorer neighborhoods of Cambridge; (3) and some youths, from stable working‐class or wealthier neighborhoods in Cambridge, view involvement in the illicit activities of street culture as a reputable means of gaining peer respect through status group affiliation.
Janelle Dance, L., Young Kim, D. and Bern, T. (2003), "Street culture in Cambridge, Massachusetts?: the perceptions of “poor”, “at‐risk” teens near Harvard", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 23 No. 11, pp. 47-79. https://doi.org/10.1108/01443330310790354Download as .RIS
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