Based on interviews with twenty-one present and former female gang members, this study focuses on Mexican-American gang girls as they operate within the Mexican-American gang milieu in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, California. The violence demanded of gang members is described within the context of the gang subculture. Gang structure, activities, attachment to the group and internalization of the norms of that group, reasons for joining the gang, the group as a source of motivation and support, and sanctions applied to maintain group cohesion are described from the point of view of the gang member herself, providing an internal understanding of her world.
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