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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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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 February 2020

Catalina Mountain School, Tucson, Arizona

Catalina Mountain School, Tucson, Arizona

(p.3) 1 Catalina Mountain School, Tucson, Arizona
Language of the Gun
University of Chicago Press

This chapter presents interviews with thirty youths at the Catalina school, which reveals their fascination with guns and their attraction to firearms. All the interviews were begun with a display the three pictures of guns from the American Handgunner—the 9-mm, the .45-caliber semiautomatic, and the Colt .45 revolver—and offering a free-association prompt: “What are you thinking about?” A few of the youths expressed visceral opposition to them. Several conveyed their deep dislike for guns. Instead of informing public policy, the Catalina interviews serve to explore, unveil, and dissect the assumptions to espousing a particular law or policy. The Catalina interviews also develop and employ an analytic method that integrates in-depth qualitative interviews, an experimental element of free association, map analysis, and a multivariate statistical approach to graphing relations between categorical variables that is called correspondence analysis. The goal is to explore the language of guns among youths, to decipher the symbolic meaning of guns, to explore the relation between systems of meaning and youth gun policies in order to shed light on the assumptions about human behavior that shape the various legal and public policy options operating in the context of youths and guns.

Keywords:   guns, public policy, Catalina school, youths, interviews, correspondence analysis, human behavior

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