Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Horowitz, Ruth, and Gary Schwartz: Honor and Gang Delinquency
Normative ambiguity is a social-structural theory addressing the cause of gang violence. Specifically, gang violence is an outcome of the tension that results from youths trying to balance a conventional value system with that of the value system resulting from a life involved in a street gang. According to Ruth Horowitz and Gary Schwartz, normative ambiguity is the result of restrictions imposed by the larger society on youths’ aspirations, thereby preventing them from attaining their goals. The fact that gang delinquency and, more specifically, male gang violence is the result of an offense of honor rather than some trivial gang squabble demonstrates the conflict that exists and the role ambiguity gang members experience. Horowitz and Schwartz developed the theory of normative ambiguity as a means to explain gang violence in the Chicano community of an urban center or city. Their work examines the social context in which gang violence occurs ...