Book Review of Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of an Italian Slum

Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of An Italian Slum is a book, which is written by William Foote Whyte. In this work, the author examines a society, which lives in Boston. The society is composed of Italians who are migrated to United States of America after the WWII.

Book Review of Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of an Italian Slum

Professor William Whyte was born in 1914 in the United States. He received a bachelor's degree in economics at Swarthmore College in 1936.  He deserved to be a researcher for the Junior Fellows program at Harvard University. He started his research. After research which is in Boston, he accepted a sociology doctoral program at the University of Chicago.

Boston, 1950s by Jules Aarons

Street Corner Society: The Social Structure of An Italian Slum is a book, which is written by William Foote Whyte. In this work, the author examines a society that lives in Boston. The community is composed of Italians who are migrated to the United States of America after WWII. These immigrants are divided into several groups: Cornerville boys, College boys, Gangsters, and Cornerville Social and Athletic Club. All these groups are composed of middle-aged teenagers, who are between 20-30 years. The common point of these groups is the ethnicity that they carry on. Actually, the whole focus of this work is the integration of these groups with American society. (Article continues below)

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To start with, the hierarchy inside of these groups must be understood. There are 3 different classes in these groups: The leader, Leader’s abettors, and the members. Leaders are the type of people who are steering the members to events and plans of groups. The impressiveness of the leader is not based on his charisma or the economic power; somehow, it is needed to be at least capable of being a part of events which are organized by him. As an example, a leader doesn’t have to be an excellent bowling player but he must be able to play bowling at a minimum level. Like as seen in the case about the camp building, Doc has organized a lottery to fund building the camp and earned 54 dollars from the lottery and Danny was ordered to keep money safe somehow, Danny put money on poker and lost 4 dollars of the money. Then he offered to move the camp’s location to hide the lost on the money. Doc knows that Danny has lost the money but just warned Danny to withdraw his request to move the location of the plan but did not expose him.

Another significant thing about the leader is his relationship with the abettors. A leader’s power is not dependent but based on the support of abettors. Abettors are like trustworthy messengers between the leader and the members. Members count more on abettors’ opinions than the leader’s. For example, one day Doc had no money and he didn’t want to participate in the bowling game but had to convince Danny to cancel the event.

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When it comes to abettors, they are the close friends of the leader and they take a role in the decision-making group in the community. They are fundamental bricks of solidarity. If there is an apart between the leader and the abettors, mostly, the community falls apart. This is because of their massive impact on the members. Once one of them leaves, he takes members with him to his side. That’s why the leader must be calm and warm and also helpful to the abettors. The leader has to share what he has with the abettors and even if abettors make some silly mistakes, the leader must ignore those mistakes.   The status relationships in the system of mutual obligations can be more clearly observed when the use of my money is involved. The leader spends more on his friends than the rest of him has. As you go down the building, the number of members who have the responsibility of the leader decreases. This does not mean that the leader has more money than others, and doesn't even have to spend more, but he must be wasting no money. This is the social explanation of monetary relations. Sometimes conscious, sometimes unconsciously, the leader avoids taking the two up to the responsibility of those with lower status in the group.

1950s Boston by Jules Aarons

The leader is the focus of his group. In his absence, members of the gang are divided into small groups. There is no common business or collective chat. When the leader arrives, the situation changes marvelously. Small units make a big group. Conversations are made, and movements are immediately associated. The center of speech becomes the leader. When a member realizes that the leader is not listening, he immediately stops and speaks again when he is attracted to the leader. As soon as the leader is separated, he returns to the groupings before his arrival. Members are not aware of the arrival of the gang with the arrival of the leader.

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Any group feels obliged to wait to start work and when the leader arrives, they wait for him to make the decisions. She had a Nortonîann Bowling match one night long John didn't have the money to play and she agreed to have Chick Morelli play on her own. After the game, he said to Danny Doc, "You should never have Chick play there." Doc replied, a little uneasy. Look, Danny, you offered yourself to play Chick instead of long John. As Danny said, oy I know, but you shouldn't have let that happen. " The leader is an occupation when the situation requires it. He's more efficient than his men. Past events are proof that his ideas are correct; in this sense, "right" is just to satisfy his men, the most independent in his decisions, his decision to do a business or remain uncertain as to the character of the newcomer, my leading choice.

1950s Boston by Jules Aaron

If a man-made a promise to one of his men. His people wait for advice and encouragement from him. He also earns the trust of his men much more than others. After all, he knows more than anyone else what is going on in the group. When children between

If they do squats, they will know almost instantly. Fighting parties can apply for a solution. Even if they do not want to reach a consensus, in the first round, both sides tell the leader for the event. The situation of a member depends in part on the leader's belief in the correctness of his behavior. The leader is respected for his fair thinking and behavior. Some members, even if they do not think very healthy, should not feed anyone in the group. Some may be close friends, some members may also be indifferent.

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Still, if he wants to protect the reputation of impartiality, he should not place his personal inclination in the decisions. The leader does not have to be the best baseball player, bowling, or fighter, but the group must have the ability to pursue relevant activities. It is his natural right to promote activities that he is good at, as well as to prevent them from being capable of. As far as the group can influence its position in the group naturally depends on the ability that it presents. Its performance also supports its position. The leader is much more recognized and respected than any of the men out there. His social activities are more. One of the most important functions is to establish a link between the other groups in the region and their group. This relationship may be of a kind of competition, conflict or cooperation, but it is expected to attract the attention of its men. Politicians or men of the underworld have to relate to the leader to support the gang. The fame of the leader in the group shower is instrumental in consolidating his position within the group and reinforcing his position in the group. There is no significant difference between the leader and his men. Loc explained this: Not just a leader in every corner, sometimes you can find a pair of lieutenants. They can be leaders themselves, but they do not make it sound for the leader in handling them. You will say: lar The leader's group does not make it sound to govern because they like the way the leader manages things or, of course, but in this case, the authority of the leader is tied to his men.

Most of the time, until an opposite situation, the types stand on the edge of the corner, and when they say, they take the job. Sometimes these things change very quickly. It should not be inferred from all these discussions that the leader was the only person who offered a job. Other men also often offer offers, but if these offers are to be carried out, they should go through the necessary stages. Every member of Köşebaşı gangs has a place within the gang structure. The duration of these positions is very long, but not constant. The position refers to the traditional relationship of each man to the other men in the group.

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When this relationship changes, the positions change. The position of the members has an internal dependence; a position cannot change without making others change. Since the group is arranged according to the status of the upper echelon, the position of some of the men in the lower tier can change without affecting the group or they can leave the group without disturbing the balance of the group. For example, when Lou Danara and Fred Mackey left their jobs, these jobs continued to be organized as before. Still, when Doc and Danny came out, the Abitons broke up, and the network of relationships was reorganized. These processes can be generalized in terms of group balance. When the relations of the members are considered in terms of the traditional form in which the group works and are organized, it is seen that the group has a balance, the order of relations may undergo certain changes without changing the balance of the group, but sudden and fatal changes destroy the balance.

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The works of each member can be considered in terms of balance. Each individual has a unique relationship with other individuals. The form of this relationship is primarily related to the individual's charity order. Still, through the experience of his relationship with others throughout his life, this develops and takes on his individual form. The twentieth-century American life demands highly flexible mobility from the individual. And usually, a person learns to adapt to changes in the type and frequency of relationships with others. This flexibility can be achieved by experiencing a wide variety of situations that require adaptation to different kinds of relationships. The individual's experience is limited, the more difficult the relationship is, the more difficult it is to adapt to the situation.

On the other hand, Street Corner Society has not only corner boys but also collage boys as well. We see that the relationship of corner boys is intimate and they have no high education level. However, it is different for college boys because yet do not have intimate relations with each other. Education level and good pronunciation in English are essential stuff for college boys. They try to improve themselves and try to connect with political and economic finance. There are no relations between gangsters but, corner boys have close relations with illegal stuff.  According to some, the problem of the neighborhood is that it is an unorganized community. For Cornerville, this is entirely misleading.

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There are some contradictions in Cornerville. Corner children and college children have different behaviors and do not understand each other. There is an intergenerational conflict and continues. Thus, society is always in a state of agitation. But this is even regular. Cornersville's problem is not the lack of order, but its structure and its social structure. Development of local political organizations and underground organizations; it also applies to people's loyalty to their race and to Italy. This situation becomes evident by examining the progression of one of Comerville'H's paths for recognition in their region and society in general.

Finally, the members are the ones who have the lowest status in the group but the dynamo of the group. They may be the most wealthy ones but it doesn’t bring political power with itself.

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Reference:

William Whyte, Street Corner Society: An Italian Slum, 1993, Chicago Press.


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