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Economics and Youth ViolenceCrime, Disadvantage, and Community$
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Richard Rosenfeld, Mark Edberg, Xiangming Fang, and Curtis S. Florence

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780814789308

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814789308.001.0001

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Street Markets, Adolescent Identity, and Violence

Street Markets, Adolescent Identity, and Violence

A Generative Dynamic

(p.181) 7 Street Markets, Adolescent Identity, and Violence
Economics and Youth Violence

Mark Edberg

Philippe Bourgois

NYU Press

This chapter considers how the exposure of adolescents to street market contexts (e.g., gangs, drug markets) shapes the connection between violence and identity development—thus increasing the likelihood of violent behavior by youth. Prior research has explored the normative aspects of these contexts, particularly a violent “code of the street.” This chapter, however, focuses on the interaction of the street market context as embedded in structural inequality and the adolescent developmental phase of identity formation, concluding that violence comes to represent socially valued personal qualities, which strengthens its connection to positive identity models. Moreover, interventions focusing on the risk factors that contribute to youth involvement in street markets do not sufficiently address the generative dynamic that exists once they are involved—as exemplified by the identity development process. Interventions utilizing a substitution principle are offered as one alternative.

Keywords:   street market context, identity development, violent behavior, generative dynamic, code of the street

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