March 5, 2014
“Caught Up”: A Critical Analysis
“Caught Up” by Maria G. Rendón divides neighborhood mechanisms in order to understand what causes the chain of high school non-completion in poverty-stricken, urban neighborhoods. The study questions the researched claim—and stereotype—that young men who grow up in poor neighborhoods have no care for graduating, and in general, education; however, many studies have disproven this theory and the bigger question becomes how urban neighborhoods are tied to the rate of poor students not graduating. Rendón thus attempts to identify and understand the neighborhood mechanisms that contribute to the high rates of high school non-completion. In order to find these answers, she focuses her study on young Latino men in the Los Angeles area, drawing on interviews from forty-two young men between the ages of seventeen and twenty-three. As a part of her research methods, she meets each one approximately three times over the course of a year. Rendón finds out that urban violence has a large, if not the largest, impact on young men. This, in turn, leads to major consequences such as high school non-completion. Because young men typically turn to their peers, she finds that young men are typically “caught up” in male peer group dynamics. In support of the findings, all of Rendón’s evidence stems from her interviews of all the boys she had spoken to about their experience with high school non-completion.
Rendón focuses on high school non-completion amongst the Latino male youth urban population alone. By narrowing her target of study, she is able to clearly focus on the complex understanding of one class—a class in terms of Weber in which is determined by life chances in the market. This particular class is relatively all on the same level—they were born on the lower level of the economic scale and equally had a worse chance of a good education and a worse chance of a good neighborhood in opposition to a rich class. In Weber’s “Class, Status, Party”, Weber claims that though class and status are similar, there is still a strong distinction between the two categories, as status is an individual trait and evaluation of esteem and honor. Typically, those in a status have more common interests than those who are in the same class. Like so, Rendón claims that, individually, many of the young Latino men follow the same class—they are all young men who are relatively poverty-stricken in urban neighborhoods. Their life chances are all the same as their income and choice of neighborhood are similar. However, like Weber, Rendón claims that an individual’s situation depends on the individual himself as well as the extra-curricular he chooses to partake in and the family he is surrounded by. Even if two young men are born in the same class, if one chooses a buffer in his life in order to achieve graduation, then his “status” would appear differently than a boy who willingly falls to...