Title: Code of the Street 25 Years Later: Lasting Legacies, Empirical Status, and Future Directions
Congratulations to Kenneth Sebastian León, Assistant Professor at LCS and Criminal Justice Program at Rutgers, and Jamie J. Fader, Associate Professor within the Department of Criminal Justice at Temple University, for publishing a new review for the Annual Review of Criminology. This review, published on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of Code of the Street (1999), considers the legacies of Elijah Anderson’s groundbreaking analysis of the interactional rules for negotiating street violence within the context of racism and structural disadvantage in Philadelphia.
Empirical testing has yielded substantial support for Code of the Street’s key arguments. In the process of assessing its generalizability, such scholarship has inadvertently flattened and decontextualized the theory by, for example, reducing it to attitudinal scales. The authors identify a more politically conscious analysis in the original text than it is generally credited with, which we use to argue that “code of the street” has outgrown its reductive categorization as a subcultural theory.
They conclude that the pressing issue of urban gun violence makes now an ideal time to refresh the theory by resituating it within the contemporary structural and cultural landscape of urban violence, analyze the social-ecological features that shape the normative regulation of violence, and study the prosocial and adaptive features of the code.
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