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Routine Activities and a Subculture of Violence: A Study of Violence on the Street

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 30 Issue: 1 Dated: (February 1993) Pages: 88-112
L W Kennedy; S W Baron
Date Published
25 pages
A field study of 35 "punk" members of a delinquent street group in Western Canada was conducted to examine and compare the assumptions posed in subcultural theories and routine activities theory about the etiology of violence in street groups.
Unstructured interviews with all 35 punk members and field notes kept on members' activities, interactions, and physical appearance reveal the need to incorporate an integrative approach to help explain violent offending and victimization. Routine activities theory with a choice component and subcultural theory appear to complement each other. Behavior is at times guided by choice, at times influenced by cultural norms, and at other times by routine activities. Various aspects of these components interact often to influence behavioral outcomes. Subcultural norms influence members' routine activities that, in turn, influence exposure to victimization and affect the behavioral choices available to members in response to victimization. Additionally, subcultures, routines, and choices influence offending patterns. Subcultural values affect the choice of victims, and third parties appear to influence the "rules of the game" as well as the amount of violence that occurs. Third parties provide subcultural support for violence, serve as allies, and help to instigate conflict while acting as capable guardians to reduce vicimization. The study findings suggest the need to examine more fully how choices, routines, and cultural milieu interact to affect one another. 5 footnotes and 54 references