Toward a Psychosocial and Sociocultural Understanding of Achievement Motivation among Latino Gang Members in U. S. Schools

By Arfaniarromo, Albert | Journal of Instructional Psychology, September 2001 | Go to article overview

Toward a Psychosocial and Sociocultural Understanding of Achievement Motivation among Latino Gang Members in U. S. Schools


Arfaniarromo, Albert, Journal of Instructional Psychology


Gang members tend to drop out of school, commit crimes, and engage in other delinquent behaviors at rates far exceeding those of the general population, and the Latino component of the U.S. gang member population constitutes up to 40 percent (and even more in some cases) of the urban Latino population in some areas. Many in mainstream society characterize Latino gang members as psychopathic and sociopathic, yet understand relatively little about them. This paper examines some of the psychosocial and sociocultural developmental theories and research regarding the delinquent achievement orientation of Latino gang members and their involvement in gangs. This examination demonstrates the thesis that the Latino gang member orientation and motivation towards the achievement of delinquent behavior, largely perceived as deviant by mainstream society, is actually an alternative response to repellent conditions. This response, often seen as abnormal by society as a whole, is a perception of achievement from within a diverted context that is misunderstood by many within mainstream society, a perception of abnormal or delinquent achievement behavior, such as dropping out of school or committing crime, as the norm or standard to attain. Ameliorative efforts (including prevention, intervention, and suppression) on the part of society and social institutions (particularly the schools) should be utilized in producing salient salutary changes.

Gang members have long been perceived as one of the most intractable banes of society. They tend to drop out of school, commit crimes, and engage in other delinquent behaviors at rates far exceeding those of the general population (Asbury, 1928; Belitz & Valdez, 1994; Jankowski, 1991; New York City Criminal Justice Agency, 1989; Suarez-Orozco, 1989; Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 1995b; Vigil, 1988a). Many in mainstream society characterize gang members as psychopathic and sociopathic, yet understand relatively little about them. Upon being asked, many in society will respond to the question of why gang members behave the way they do with a simplistic "they just want to cause trouble" or "they are stuck within a low SES (socioeconomic status)."

Historically, gangs have existed among various ethnic communities in the United States, including gangs in numerous Latino, African American, Asian, and White (non-Latino, Anglo and non-Anglo) communities (Asbury, 1928; Jankowski, 1991; Moore, 1985; New York City Criminal Justice Agency, 1989; Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 1995b; Thrasher, 1927; Vigil, 1988a). Such historical examples would include ethnic gangs of Mexican, Chinese, Irish, and Polish ancestry. Contemporary examples would include the preceding four groups, as well as such diverse cases as Dominican, Vietnamese, and Russian gangs (Friedman, 2000; Jankowski, 1991; Vigil & Yun, 1990), including scenarios in which potential gang recruits of less commonly gang-affiliated ethnic backgrounds are incorporated into more established ethnic gangs in an alternative form of U.S. "equal opportunity" (Suarez-Orozco, 1989; Suarez-Orozco, 1999; Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 1995b; Vigil, 1988a). U.S. Latino gangs, however, have existed since the increase in Latin American immigration to the U.S. earlier in the twentieth century and the concomitant society-imposed marginalization that quickly accompanied that increase (Buriel, 1984; Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 1995b; Vigil, 1988a, 1999; for a percipient analysis of pariah group status, see De Vos & Suarez-Orozco, 1990; for an acute examination of similar statuses as they relate to children of immigrants, see Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 2001).

Presently, the U.S. gang member population's Latino component (much of which contains members that tend to average between 13 and 25 years of age [Vigil, 1988a]) constitutes a substantial portion of the Latino population in the United States, particularly in the inner city (Buriel, 1984; Calabrese & Noboa, 1995; Derbyshire, 1968; Jankowski, 1991; Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 1995b; Vigil, 1988a, 1988b, 1999), as the numbers attest. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Toward a Psychosocial and Sociocultural Understanding of Achievement Motivation among Latino Gang Members in U. S. Schools
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.