Title

It's a War Out There: Contextualized Narratives of Violent Acts

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-1-2017

Subject Area

ARRAY(0x55e625232010)

Abstract

Purpose: To examine how individuals operating in violent environments draw on cultural and personal narratives of place and self to make sense of routine preparations for violence. Methods: Data are based on in-depth, semi-structured interviews with 17 individuals involved in street crime and assaultive violence in St. Louis, Missouri. Participants had engaged in violence within the month prior to being interviewed. We used chain referral methods to identify and recruit them. Results: Participants portrayed their neighborhoods as warzones and themselves as people who succeed in these environments due to preparedness for violence and personal capacity for violence typified by street soldiers. They used this situated identity to explain preparations for violence including: readiness to see threats and respond quickly, selecting allies for fights, and arming themselves. Conclusions: The implications of our findings for the study of narrative criminology are discussed including how place and identity narratives facilitate an understanding of self in action that is both after-the-fact sense-making and crime conducive.

Publication Title

Journal of Criminal Justice

Volume

53

First Page

74

Last Page

82

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

10.1016/j.jcrimjus.2017.06.005

ISSN

00472352

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