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NCJ Number: 149028 Find in a Library
Title: Near-Group Theory and Collective Behavior: A Critical Reformulation
Journal: Social Problems  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:(1961)  Pages:167-174
Author(s): H W Pfautz
Date Published: 1961
Page Count: 8
Type: Research (Theoretical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The study by Lewis Yablonsky on adolescent delinquent gangs and gang warfare in New York City introduced the near- group theory.
Abstract: Near groups were characterized by diffuse role definition, limited cohesion, impermanence, minimal consensus of norms, and shifting membership expectations. In this article, the findings from the original research are reorganized in the general theoretical tradition of collective behavior, and specifically in terms of the concept of a social movement. This recasting of Yablonsky's observations provides additional insight into the conflict patterns of delinquency described elsewhere. When the violent adolescent gang is viewed as a social movement, its nature and the consequences for individual members and the community are based on its associational characteristics rather than on the psychic structure of its culture. This perspective more completely explains why adolescents in disorganized urban areas are easily coopted into the gang's collective violence. This approach suggests that the means of eliminating gang violence is to provide adolescents with a sense of structure and the belief that society has a future for them as adults. 39 notes
Main Term(s): Gangs
Index Term(s): Crime causes theory; Criminology; Gang violence; Juvenile gang behavior patterns
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