The impact of gang violence on the decisions of everyday life: Disjunctions between policy assumptions and community conditions

Deborah L. Puntenney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations

Abstract

This article examines the relationship between gang violence and everyday decisions about caregiving and work made by welfare recipients living in an inner-city public housing development. It explores the extent to which these decisions and the conditions that produce them conflict with underlying assumptions embedded in federal welfare policy. Data are drawn from in-depth interviews with 56 welfare recipients. The findings show that labor force participation is limited in a situation where gang violence occurs regularly, at least in part due to the need to supervise and accompany children within the community. Both a lack of confidence that hired care providers will protect their children effectively and the unpredictability of the timing of gang violence contribute to the sense of need to be present and on guard over their families at all times. Women respond to this challenge by (1) organizing their labor force activities around the responsibilities of caregiving, (2) negotiating family care arrangements that minimize the need for their constant presence, (3) imparting knowledge about appropriate gang-evasive action to their children, and (4) regulating community involvement for themselves and their families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-161
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Urban Affairs
Volume19
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies

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