Code of the Streets
By Elijah Anderson
In the article “The Code of the Street” by Elijah Anderson, he allows a glimpse of everyday life through the eyes of two completely different worlds wrapped up within one universe. He compares street families to what he refers to as “decent families”. Although the meaning can take on different perceptions to the eye of the beholder, the author described it as a code of civility at one end of conduct regulated by the threat of violence. Within these most economically drugged, crime-related, and depressing neighborhoods, the rules of civil action have been severely weakened, and their stead of survival known as this “code of the street” often holds many their key to survival.
The book Essentials of sociology gives four different theories on why crime exists, they are the functionalist theory, the internationalist theory, conflict theory, and control theory. The theory I believe best relates to Andersons article is the internationalist theory. The author presented only two groups of people which categorized their existence within the social contest among individuals and families of the neighborhood, the “decent” and the “street.” I thought that they were kind of broad terms and that maybe they shouldn’t necessarily be “categorized” but they should be more of a description of people. Because there can be many “decent” people and they can still know the street.
The internationalist theory basically implies that crime is learned from the things you observe in life and your interactions with people around you. The first place Anderson says people in impoverished areas learn crime is at a young age from the family. Children are always influence by their parents and Anderson says “those street oriented adults with whom children come in contact with including mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, boyfriends, cousins, neighbors, and friends-help them in forming this understanding by verbalizing the messages they are...
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