Normative Embeddedness and Ambivalence in Generational Social Change: Social Capital and Urban Youth in Transition

John Hagan, Northwestern University
Ronit Dinovitzer, American Bar Foundation
Ron Levi, Northwestern University

This paper investigates the role of norm enforcement and normative commitments in the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Drawing on longitudinal data of two cohorts of high-school students in Toronto, we examine the relationships between community and familial norm enforcement, individual risk-taking, direct and indirect contact with the police, and normative ambivalence regarding rule-breaking and social norms of conduct. This model posits that youth behaviors and normative settings are contingent on one another and produce unique outcomes when combined. Relying on two cohorts of data collected nearly 25 years apart (1976/2000) with rigorous controls for comparability, this paper provides the opportunity to examine the role of normative emdeddedness over a period of significant social and economic change, and its role as a form of social capital for urban youth experiencing the transition to adulthood.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006