In this illuminating look at two Chicano gangs in East Los Angeles, Joan W. Moore examines the changes and continuities among three generations of barrio gangs. As a sequel to the author's award-winning study, Homeboys (Temple, 1979), this book returns to the same neighborhoods to chart the development of gang behavior, especially in terms of violence and drug use, and to compare experiences of male and female gang members.
In a remarkable research collaborative effort, Moore and gang members worked together to develop an understanding of both male and female gangs and an internal vision of gang members' lives. By using excerpts from individual interviews, the author depicts more about the gangs than simply their life together as a unit; she gives them a voice. Gang members discuss their personal reaction to violence, drug using and selling, family relations and intra-gang dating; they share intimacies that reveal varying levels of loyalty to and dependency on their affiliations, which often become a family substitute.
After maintaining neighborhood ties for 17 years, Moore's research group has established a relationship with these communities that gives her a rare perspective. This is a fascinating and informative book for anyone interested in sociology, criminology, youth behavior and deviance, and ethnic studies.