Old heads tell their stories

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David Brotherton


Based on life history interviews with twenty veteran leaders of New York City's street gangs, a comparative analysis is made of the jacket gangs of the 1970's, the drug gangs of the 1960's and the street organizations of today. The data from these personal narratives (Relssman 1994) are supplemented by participant- and non-participant observations of current group activities and film footage of past gangrelated events to provide an historical account of evolving vouth street subculural practices. The article argues that agency and empowerment, largely overlooked categories of gang analyses, exposes the poverty of conventional gang theory and the delinquency~ered criteria of gang studies.

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