By Sophie Body-Gendrot

During this ground-breaking examine, Sophie Body-Gendrot offers a comparative research of the starting to be challenge of latest kinds of poverty and social marginalisation in modern complicated societies.

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However, without even mentioning the discrepancies that occur in data measurement, I am very much aware of the treacherous nature of the comparative exercise. There are a number of problems. 1. Comparing a mid-sized country with a vast territorial, multiracial and multi-ethnic world superpower and attempting to trace a parallel between a long past molded by centuries of centralization and a short history of the forces of law and order of fifty states is bound to lead to oversimplification and misinterpretation.

Hispanics – another fuzzy concept – figure prominently in the youth gang literature and their subculture of violence is among the more popular explanations of gang membership. While this is not necessarily correlated, they constituted the fastest growing minority group in prison from 1980 to 1993. Because of extremely high unemployment rates, depressing poverty, and disheartening living and social conditions of the people living in 10 The Politics of Depacification Chinatowns, Asian youth gangs also cumulate high crime rates and acts of destruction (Marshall, 1997: 15; Mann, 1993: 97).

They do not look to the state in search of their identity. Let us remember that, for Jefferson, the best state was the state that governed the less and, for Thoreau, a state that would not govern at all. The right to insurrection was part of the citizens’ rights. Americans’ membership is found elsewhere, probably in their adhesion to a bill of constitutional rights and their identity in a smaller local community (Sandel, 1996). Citizenship is not a recurring national debate, as it is in France where distinctions can be established between those who call themselves “residents” and others, for instance youth of immigrant origin, who identify themselves as “citizens” (Neveu, 1999).

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