"Street Love": How Street Life Oriented U. S. Born African Men Frame Giving Back to One Another and the Local Community

Publication Date:
Jan 2009
Published In:
Project Programs:
Cultural Contact

This Participatory Action Research (PAR) project worked with four active street life oriented U. S. Born African men, to document how a community sample of street life oriented U. S. Born African men between the ages of 16–65, frame and use “street life” as a Site of Resiliency (Payne, Dissertation, 2005; Journal of Black Psychology 34(1):3–31, 2008). Qualitative data was collected in the form of 20 individual and two group interviews. These data reveal an inter-generational, conceptualization and use, of the term “street love” in street life oriented U. S. born African men. Also, these data reveal that notions of “street love” extend out a critique of community professionals (e.g., community researchers/interventionists, social workers, etc.) as being unable and unwilling to produce “real help” in the local community. Examples of street love, revealed in the study, include the men offering advice/counsel, money or “free turkeys” during Thanksgiving to one another as well as other members of the local community. Results support Payne’s (2005) three-dimension conceptualization of “street love”: (1) individual, (2) group and (3) communal level expressions of “street love”.


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