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Orig. title: Do outro lado da cidade. Crianças, socialização e delinquência em bairros de realojamento

Engl. transl.: In the other side of the city. Children, socialization and delinquency in resettlement neighborhoods (translated by the coder)

Study details

Year: 2009
Scope: Local
Countries: Portugal
Methodology: Empirical research – Mixed methods
Methods of data collection: Case study; Ethnography / participant observation; Evidence map
Researched Groups: Children; Families
Children Ages: Kids (6-10 Years old); Pre-adolescents (11-13 Years old)
Funder: Foundation for Science and Technology
Funder Types: Foundation; PhD scholarship
Has Formal Ethical Clearance: Yes
Consents: Consent obtained from parents; Consent obtained from children
Informed Consent: Consent obtained
Ethics: Ethical considerations and/or protocol mentioned in the research design
Data Set Availability: Not mentioned


Delinquency is a social problem gaining visibility in Western societies. The contours of its public discussion reflect the complexity of the phenomenon, and its study is important in the analysis of social change and social dynamics in a certain context and time. Following the results obtained in research undertaken in the Portuguese Juvenile Justice system (2003), and within the backdrop of a guideline that crosses three vectors - childhood, delinquency, and territory -, we intended to study the relationships emerging between delinquency of school children (Elementary Level: 6-12 years-old), and the models of urbanization which have supported the construction of six public housing neighbourhoods in Oeiras, Metropolitan Area of Lisbon, Portugal, starting from the hypothesis that these models are linked with the development of processes of socialization that facilitate the access to opportunities for committing delinquency. Based on symbolic interactionism and social ecology theoretical approaches, the analysis model thinks delinquency as an expression of a social problem associated with a range of factors and circumstances brought into play in a specific territory whose physical and social environment influences, and simultaneously suffers the effects of the action and social control exercised by individuals, and for which children, as social actors, ascribe a particular meaning by appropriating, integrating, reconstructing and (re)producing it in their lives. Within this framework, between late 2005 and early 2009, it has been carried out a case study based on ethnographic research involving a combination of qualitative and quantitative methodologies, sustained in a comprehensive analytical logic that has considered the voice of children as its starting point. In conclusion, it is noted the invisibility of this social problem in Portuguese official statistics, and it is not possible to identify its contours at a national level due to limitations in the rating instruments of various entities. Locally, the spatialization of the social differentiation of these neighbourhoods reflects into weaknesses of social control, and into the existence of a framework of social disorganization and low collective efficacy that promote the social learning of delinquency. In this other side of the city, it was identified precocity in delinquency that escapes official entities, and where differential association makes itself felt in particular ways. The transmission of delinquent values, especially in families that aren’t models of social conformity, assumes significant importance reflecting the dilution of informal social control, and the low presence of sanctions. Part of the childhood cultures generated here is underpinned by a code and street culture, integrating both intra and intergenerational contributions. At this point, the group, especially with older ones, is a key-factor. For many children, delinquency takes a functional and instrumental role, and may find in it attractive and rewarding forms of socialization that vary from what they consider to be just child's play, and the need to obtain recognition in socially stigmatized areas. They are therefore 'other childhoods' and their place in the city is brought up to discussion, as well as the urban development and some policies for childhood.

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