skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 164625 Find in a Library
Title: Side by Side: An Ethnographic Study of a Miami Gang
Journal: Journal of Gang Research  Volume:4  Issue:1  Dated:(Fall 1996)  Pages:27-38
Author(s): W R Palacios
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 12
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study describes the subculture of a gang as experienced by the gang members themselves.
Abstract: The research describes and analyzes a "new" gang in Miami, Fla., "Side By Side." It was designed to illicit the perspective of the gang members and to discover their "world-view." Issues examined by the author included the gang's formation, persistence over time, membership, recruitment, and organizational structure. Issues explored were how gangs originate, why individuals join a gang, how gang members relate to one another, and how the role of the individual impacts the structural development of the gang. Regarding gang structure, Side By Side went through three phases of development: a vertical structure (members about the same age who live in the same neighborhood); a horizontal structure (peripheral members were initiated into the gang); and the familial phase (concern for interpersonal relationships among gang members). The gang members' needs and experiences shaped the progression of the gang as a unit through the three stages of development. Membership into the gang was both achieved and ascribed; it was achieved through a demonstration of courage, as measured by proficiency in fighting; it was ascribed by insisting that prospective members live within the gang's neighborhood boundaries. The gang member adopts the prevalent "social" attitudes of the gang. Gang members, both male and female, said they became involved with the gang to meet their needs for identity, status, reputation, and self-esteem. There were, however, differences between core and peripheral members. Core members identified with both expressive as well as instrumental motives (financial gain). Peripheral members were inclined to identify with expressive motives for joining. In summary, the author advises that the members of Side By Side created a social context that provided them a social structure and a belief system for understanding their own world. 18 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Case studies; Ethnomethodology; Florida; Juvenile gang behavior patterns; Social network analysis; Social organization
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.