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January 1959

The Gang: A Study in Adolescent Behavior

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1959;81(1):130. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1959.02340130150021

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Abstract

In this age of ultraspecialization, it is often most rewarding and gratifying to read the writings of colleagues in related fields who are attempting to study and deal with the same problems with which one is vitally concerned in one's day-to-day labors, albeit with a different perspective.

The authors, a sociologist-anthropologist and a police lieutenant, offer a comprehensive and scholarly dissertation that covers in a most ambitious fashion the general subject of adolescence and, more specifically, the adolescent group and gang behavior. They present a thorough study of adolescent behavior in a variety of primitive and modern cultures, with an extremely interesting correlation of puberty rites and gang-initiation rituals. Finally, they reveal the intimate picture of a typical big-city gang structure, with an analysis of its key members, their roles and their interreactions.

Ascribing to the period of adolescence "the social necessity to confront the demands of the new adult

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