The research consists of an ethnographical study with a focus on the processes that make youths become involved in street violence. The main data is based on participant observation and in-depth qualitative interviews with twenty-four male youths (between 15 and 25 years) perpetrators of violent crimes and engaged in street violence. The interviews show street violence as a tool for the implementation of an informal system of rules stipulated by drug dealers and criminal groups in Maceió.

Street vio­lence in Bra­zil has in­cre­a­sed in the last years and young peo­ple re­pre­sent the ma­jo­ri­ty of vic­tims and per­pe­tra­tors. Streets in di­s­ad­van­ta­ged are­as in Ma­ceió/Bra­zil ha­ve be­en in a spot of power strug­gle, whe­re in­for­mal norms are crea­ted and re­crea­ted in or­der to esta­blish stan­dards of be­ha­viour. Wi­thin this con­text, an im­port­ant ques­ti­on emer­ges: what pro­cess ma­kes youths be­co­me in­vol­ved in street vio­lence, con­si­de­ring in­di­vi­du­al de­ve­lop­ment to­wards cri­mi­nal li­fe, en­vi­ron­ment, so­ci­al ru­les, groups, fa­mi­ly and ties that mo­ti­va­te or for­ce youths to be­co­me mem­bers of cri­mi­nal groups.

The re­se­arch con­sists of an eth­no­gra­phi­cal stu­dy ba­sed on par­ti­ci­pant ob­ser­va­ti­on, in-depth qua­li­ta­ti­ve in­ter­views with twen­ty-four ma­le youths (aged bet­ween 15 and 25 years), who had in­ten­se ex­pe­ri­ences with street vio­lence. The da­ta we­re main­ly col­lec­ted in se­ven months of field­work in Ma­ceió from Ja­nu­a­ry un­til Ju­ly 2013. In Ja­nu­a­ry 2016 Ma­ceió was vi­si­ted again with the pur­po­se of col­lec­ting pic­tu­res from neigh­bour­hoods, whe­re the in­ter­view­ed youth ca­me from, as well as Pri­sons and In­tern­ment Units for Ado­le­scents, which could not be ful­ly pho­to­gra­phed in 2013.

This dis­ser­ta­ti­on aims at iden­tify­ing pro­ces­ses through which ma­le youths be­co­me in­vol­ved in street vio­lence in Ma­ceió and at ana­ly­zing the ro­le that vio­lence plays for in­di­vi­du­als and/or cri­mi­nal groups and for the so­ci­al or­der on the streets of Ma­ceió. Other im­port­ant points of the stu­dy con­cern the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on of the ''uni­ver­se'' of drug traf­ficking, un­der­stan­ding why this busi­ness has be­co­me so at­trac­ti­ve for youths and al­so ex­ami­na­ti­on of how street vio­lence is re­la­ted to drug de­aling and traf­ficking, and how vio­lence is used as an in­stru­ment of pu­nis­h­ment in or­der to esta­blish so­ci­al con­trol in the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

The in­ter­views de­mons­tra­ted a ran­ge of con­di­ti­ons that lead young peo­ple to street vio­lence. The lack of ac­cess to school and edu­ca­tio­nal achie­ve­ments ap­pe­ar as a com­mon is­sue, sin­ce youths ha­ve a rat­her low edu­ca­ti­on le­vel. School drop-out and low pa­ren­tal con­trol drive youth to mo­re in­ten­si­ve streets ac­ti­vi­ties which in­clu­des both amu­se­ment and en­ga­ge­ment in il­le­gal ac­ti­vi­ties, such as drug traf­ficking and rob­be­ry. Tho­se ac­ti­vi­ties are con­si­de­ra­te by youths as a sour­ce of pro­fit and ex­pres­si­on of power, ho­we­ver, vio­lence emer­ges as a fun­da­men­tal tool that su­stains the­se cri­mi­nal ac­ti­vi­ties. Street vio­lence is al­so connec­ted with the sys­tem of in­for­mal ru­les sti­pu­la­ted by drug dea­lers and cri­mi­nal groups in de­pri­ved are­as of Ma­ceió, such as ru­les of si­lence and no cros­sing ru­les. The­re­fo­re, vio­lence is the key to in­for­mal so­ci­al con­trol.

The dissertation is in its final stage of writing and will be submitted at the beginning of the summer-semester 2018.