A Road Map of the Catalina Interviews

in Language of the Gun

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2006 | ISBN: 9780226316086
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226316079 | DOI:
A Road Map of the Catalina Interviews

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It is crucial to explore how the different discourses of guns are associated within different environments (gang membership or youth incarceration, for example) in order to analyze how the contexts give meaning to the discourses—and vice versa, how the discourses give meaning to contexts. This chapter describes the process of selecting the Catalina youths (at the Catalina Mountain School in Tucson, Arizona), interviewing them, coding the interviews, and graphically representing the interview findings. The author of this book went to the Catalina Mountain School to explore how a select group of incarcerated young males talk about guns, to discover what guns mean to them, to probe the symbolic and emotional dimensions of guns, to understand better youths' gun carrying. The goal of the interviews was, very precisely, to conduct a semiotic analysis of the gun: to explore the language of guns among youths, to analyze youths' voices in relation to gun experiences, to decipher the symbolic meaning of guns. The goal is to focus microscopically on the gun, to chart all the webs of meaning, and to analyze how they relate.

Keywords: discourses of gun; Catalina youths; incarcerated youths; young males; semiotic analysis; symbolic meaning

Chapter.  6220 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Criminal Law

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