Date of Award

9-1989

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Sociology

Supervisor

Jane Synge

Language

English

Abstract

This thesis examines the social organization of "street kids." Participation in street life can be an alienating and isolating experience. I suggest adolescents who leave intolerable family situations in favour of street life, counterbalance the debilitating effects of individual isolation on the streets by participating in an alternative, adolescent subculture.

This particular subcultural group I have chosen to study, constitutes a type of "pseudo family)." I contend that while this "street kid" group represents a "family" for these adolescents , it also perpetuates a sense of victimization and is fraught with problems amongst its members, just like the home lives which they abandoned. Information drawn from numerous friendship networks within the "street kid" group provide evidence to support this contention.

Emphasis is placed on understanding the ongoing meaning of adolescent street life as viewed by male and female actors within this group. This is achieved by examining various contingencies and stages involved in becoming a "street kid," and by studying group structure and activities. The context in which their activities are explained is central to the understanding of group structure, as well as the creation of their gendered identities.

McMaster University Library

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