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Language of the GunYouth, Crime, and Public Policy$
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Bernard E. Harcourt

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780226316086

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226316079.001.0001

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Embracing the Paradigm of Dirty Hands

Embracing the Paradigm of Dirty Hands

(p.167) 11 Embracing the Paradigm of Dirty Hands
Language of the Gun
University of Chicago Press

The Catalina interviews (the interviews of young males at the Catalina Mountain School in Tucson, Arizona) lend support to four methodological approaches. But at the same time, they expose the assumptions about human behavior embedded in each. The interviews reveal moments of individual decision making, of instrumental reasoning, and deliberate choice. The Catalina interviews also reveal recurring registers of gun talk. Commodities, protection, suicide—there are patterns in the way the Catalina youths talk about guns. But how do those patterns become necessary, and why should we assume that they influence behavior? The youths recount recurring scripts about gun carrying. They seem to know well how to play these encounters. At the same time, the reiteration seems to modify the performance. Sometimes it leads to gunfire, at other times to a standoff. The empirical data from the Catalina School raise more questions than they answer.

Keywords:   Catalina interviews, human behavior, individual decision making, guns, methodological approach, gun carrying

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