Negotiating Safety on Dangerous Streets: The Role of Female Peer Groups

Rodney K. Brunson, University of Missouri - St. Louis

This study examines how young women manage the dangerous environment of a high crime neighborhood. By integrating information from interviews, field observations, and crime and demographic data sources, the study illuminates key events in the lives of young women in an inner city Chicago neighborhood. More specifically, this paper examines how three distinct groups of African American female respondents (clique-involved, delinquent but not clique-involved, and non-delinquent) negotiate daily life within their community. By examining how these young women differentiated between cliques, gangs and other adolescent peer groups, this study explores their adaptations to: gangs in the neighborhood, family members with criminal histories, gang-involved friends and boyfriends, and conflict within schools.

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Updated 05/20/2006