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Youth violence in Central America: discourses and policies

[journal article]

Peetz, Peter

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Abstract The article analyzes the social construction of youth violence in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and El Salvador on the one hand, and the related security policies of the three states, on the other. In each country, there is an idiosyncratic way of constructing youth violence and juvenile delinquency. Also, each country has its own manner of reaction to those problems. In El Salvador youths are socially constructed as a threat to security, and the state implements predominantly repressive policies to protect citizens against that threat. In Nicaragua and Costa Rica, where the social discourse on youth violence is less prominent, the state’s policies are neither very accentuated nor very coherent, whether in terms of repressive or nonrepressive measures. There are strong relationships and mutual influences between the public’s fear (or disregard) of youth violence and the state’s policies to reduce it.
Keywords adolescent; violence; Central America; Nicaragua; Costa Rica; El Salvador; domestic security; security sector; criminality; delinquency; crime fighting; youth policy; public opinion; formation of consciousness; discourse analysis
Classification Social Problems; Criminal Sociology, Sociology of Law; Special areas of Departmental Policy
Document language English
Publication Year 2011
Page/Pages p. 1459-1498
Journal Youth & Society, 43 (2011) 4
ISSN 1552-8499
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications
This publication is with permission of the rights owner freely accessible due to an Alliance licence and a national licence (funded by the DFG, German Research Foundation) respectively.