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Between Good and Ghetto

African American Girls and Inner-City Violence

Nikki Jones

Publication Year: 2010

Between Good and Ghetto reflects the social world of inner city African American girls and how they manage threats of personal violence. Drawing on personal encounters, traditions of urban ethnography, Black feminist thought, gender studies, and feminist criminology, Nikki Jones provides a richly descriptive and compassionate account, revealing multiple strategies used to navigate interpersonal and gender-specific violence and how gendered dilemmas of their adolescence are reconciled.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Series: Series in Childhood Studies


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p. vii

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xiii

I returned to Philadelphia several times while completing this book. Some of the neighborhoods I once visited have undergone substantial changes: a block of row houses is replaced by new housing or a...

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pp. 1-19

EARLY ON A WEEKDAY MORNING, a few minutes past the beginning of the school day, the line of students that snakes into the front door of Martin Luther King High School in South Philadelphia is no longer in sight.1 Known locally as “the prison on the hill,” the...

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Chapter 1: The Social World of Inner-City Girls

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pp. 20-45

MAINSTREAM AMERICAN SOCIETY commonly assumes that women and girls do not fight like boys and men. We like to think that women and girls shy away from conflict and physical aggression....

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Chapter 2: “It’s Not Where You Live, It’s How You Live”: When Good Girls Fight

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pp. 46-73

ON A WARM SUMMER DAY, I sit on the stoop outside a South Philadelphia row house with Takeya, a thirteen-year-old girl, who is slim and light-skinned.1 I ask her if she has been in any recent fights with other girls....

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Chapter 3: “Ain’t I a Violent Person?”: Understanding Girl Fighters

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pp. 74-106

I AM ON MY WAY to DeLisha’s house on another hot summer day. Staring out the car window, I notice several men hanging out on a stoop near the corner. Graffiti on the wall behind the group reads, “J Block.” This letter-block combination is...

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Chapter 4: “Love Make You Fight Crazy”: Gendered Violence and Inner-City Girls

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pp. 107-150

IT IS 10:30 ON A WEEKDAY MORNING and I am riding the trolley as it moves along its route underneath Philadelphia’s Center City District. I notice two African American girls in their late teens sitting across from one another near the door of the trolley car...

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Conclusion: The Other Side of the Crisis

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pp. 151-162

MRS. CARTER IS A MIDDLE-AGED MOTHER whose teenaged son, a burly young high school football player, was in a fight in his public Philadelphia high school. Her son’s troubles, however, are dwarfed by those of his teenaged sister, who recently gave...

Appendix: A Reflection on Field Research and the Politics of Representation

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pp. 163-181


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pp. 183-194


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pp. 195-202


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pp. 203-211

E-ISBN-13: 9780813548258
E-ISBN-10: 081354825X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813546148
Print-ISBN-10: 0813546141

Page Count: 228
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Series in Childhood Studies
Series Editor Byline: Edited by Myra Bluebond-Langner, Ph.D., Founder of Rutgers University Center for Children and Childhood Studies See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 593317251
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Between Good and Ghetto

Research Areas


Subject Headings

  • African American girls -- Social conditions.
  • Inner cities -- United States.
  • Violence -- United States.
  • City children -- United States.
  • Children and violence -- United States.
  • Violence in children -- United States.
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