Honor, normative ambiguity and gang violence*

Ruth Horowitz, Gary Schwartz

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This paper examines the social context in which gang violence occurs in a Mexican American community. We argue that gang violence arises in situations where one party impugns the honor of his adversary. This sort of conduct violates the norms of interpersonal etiquette and constitutes, in Goffman's terminology, a violation of "personal space." Gang members fluctuate uneasily between conventional and honor bound responses to these kinds of insults. The paper outlines a theory of normative ambiguity that deals with this movement between two antithetical codes for conduct.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationGangs
    PublisherTaylor and Francis
    Number of pages14
    ISBN (Electronic)9781351157797
    ISBN (Print)9780815389132
    StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Social Sciences


    Dive into the research topics of 'Honor, normative ambiguity and gang violence*'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this