Free Term Paper: Street Corner Society

Free Term Paper: Street Corner Society


Historically, Street Corner Society forms part of the few works that can admissibly be referred to as masterpieces of sociological exploration. Park and Burges understood that environmental and commercial factors were transformed into a communal association by the customs and ambitions of those people who live in cities. The sociologists, in their focus on objectivity, never lost sight of the morals that guide human behavior (Park, Burges & McKenzie, 1984).

This paper analyses some of the most important concepts of Street Cornet Society through a review of the book by Whyte.

Street Corner Society

According to the version of Whyte on Italian American slum, he described it as Cornerville. However, this is Boston’s North End, model for ethnography in the urban sector for fifty years. He plotted the complex social worlds of highway gangs and corner boys to prove that an underprivileged community does not have the need for social disorder. There are various subsystems in Cornerville, four of which are discussed herein (Park et al, 1984).


Whyte perceptibly disputes the social disorganization, demise of community perspective on the urban slum dwelling. He argued that the peer groups are structured even though they are diverse in general content. Corner boys have a group orientation such that for college boys, there is a successful orientation unlike the corner boys. He systematically contends with the assertion that sociology should move from objective scrutiny of facts in pursuit of the goal (Whyte, 2012). It is also focused on compassionate understanding of groups and their qualities to social action. In the same way, Whyte surpasses the group coordination of what turns out to be a Symbolic Interactionism into the study of the structure of an organization. The idea of fabricated relationship in Tally’s Corner is brought about by the incapability of tracing relationship towards childhood (Park et al, 1984). This was combined with the crumbled form of family belonging to similar society.


Friendship is a mutual theme that is explored in the City and Street Cornet Society, both portraying significant resemblances and stark disparities in the philosophies of friendship. Besides, they focus on the significance of position to the structure and genuine conservation of friendship.

In the case of Tally’s Corner, these relationships are found in the street corner society instead of being introduced by outsiders (Whyte, 2012). The gangs in the Street Corner Society were completely united since most of the gangs’ activities can be traced back to their early childhood (Whyte, 2012). It also explored the lives of those living close together considering that the first chances are for social contacts. The way location impacts the formation of friendship, the talent of Cornerville is to trace back their friendships.

Lower-Class Societal Stereotype

Whyte started his study of Cornerville without a clear background in both sociology and anthropology. His book underscores the disparities amid second generation Italian American for the college boys and corner boys. It is their complex relationships with racketeers and politicians in North End of Boston that ensured some form of repentance. Although the associates of Cornerville were exceedingly systematized among themselves, Cornerville was the failure of its own social organization. These men suffered the agony of lack of opportunity for embracing the American society in ways that were consumable to other immigrant groups (Whyte, 2012).

It is evident that the society’s low expectations from Society on lower class had a negative impact on the men in the Street Corner Society. This idea is illustrated in Claude Steel’s work when he presented an alternative interpretation of the disparities in IQ scores between African American and European American personalities. He gives the recommendation that societal stereotypes for success can significantly affect the way in which people from that group are presented (Park et al, 1984).


In his book, Whyte points out that the leader is the central point of the organization offering structure and money to other members is depended on by his associates. This is aimed at meeting his personal objective since none of the Cornerville corner boys lived fit for their mutual duties. This element comparatively accounts for difference in status existing among them (Whyte, 2012). The breakdown of the Nortons took place when they had the need for real management owing to the fact that Doc could not invest more on the gang. When he became an employee of the Cornerville Settlement House, he showed the significance of the responsibility of leader to the unity and upkeep of the community (Whyte, 2012).

The Nature of Gangs

Street Corner men hardly saw each other outside their chosen corner, although various corner gangs reserved the same night every week. This formed their time for some special activity like careening, exclusive of the corner itself. These special activities unceremoniously bound the men together. Consequently, this was creating structure in the groups, as traversing scores characteristically armor-plated the communal classification of individuals (Whyte, 2012).

Whyte designated different groups and communities within the region. In the first part of the book, there are comprehensive accounts for the establishment and systematization of local gangs. Whyte differentiated between the corner boys and college boys. He went on to add that the lives of the corner boys revolved around particular street corners and the neighboring shops. On the other hand, the college boys were more focused on good education and moving up on the social ladder (Whyte, 2012). In consistence with the classification, the corner boys were of a lower informally documented class striving to make a living and were apprehensive largely with the local community. Besides, the college boys were addicted to social progression although they were both in association.

Experimentally, Whyte also undertook an examination of the association between Cornerville and the greater society. His key inference was that Cornerville was a community that was pre-arranged, something that contradicted the general belief that slums were informally muddled sections. He also explored this in his study that revealed the types of gang connotations and their link with gambling, party-politics and racketeering governments. Just like the structures of party politics and racketeering, the gangs also have a hierarchal organization that originated from the understanding and friendship of the associates over a long period of time (Whyte. 2012).

At the time, he got information that a slum could not be different deprived of social organization, Whyte made the declaration that congestion, housing circumstances, joblessness and scarcity were issues of concern that could be comprehensively defined and dignified. On the other hand, social disorganization can strike one as a term used by the middle-class. This extends to areas that are not systematized in normal middle-class methods. Extreme to slanting the management of Cornerville, it should be traced to the then modern sociological assertions. I argued that the district was extensively pre-arranged in its own design. In practice, sociologists who can reconsider the nature of life and association in low-income, overcrowded urban districts act in defense of street corner society (Park et al, 1984).

Role of Racketeers in the Social Structure of Slums

Inside Cornerville in   Boston, many Italian immigrants lived with various ages. Among those settlers, a youngster boy continually spends time around the streets. In normal occasions, they have given themselves an alias that identified them as corner boys. In Street Corner Society, Whyte describes the social building and deeds of Cornerville in addition to the corner boys. Whyte profoundly emphasizes his study on the social structure of the racketeers and their impacts on Cornerville as a unit. In his book, he confirms that in the 1930s, the racketeers were almost the only men seen on the streets. They were also among the beneficiaries who had money and political influence.

However, diverse voice acts as though it opposes the impact of the racketeers in her study known as Street Corner Society Cornerville Revisited. Claims that have the racketeers are those social recluses that show very little impact on the rest of the inhabitants. The racketeers played an instrumental role in the influence of Cornerville as well as the corner boys (Whyte, 2012).

The effects of the racketeers on Cornerville can be distributed into three classes, on daily life of the corner boys, the representatives and social structures. There is always a reason for the order of these groups, at the use of the racketeers’ powers on the corner boys. This use of power and authority to have control over the politicians, and through them, the racketeers can significantly influence the social structure of Cornerville. Because of this, I will discuss those three classes in the following paper in this order (Park et al, 1984).

First, the paper determines whether the racketeers have important guidance on the corner boys. In fact, the racketeers only communicated with the leaders of the local gangs. Sincerely, establishing all the occurrences, temporarily stay obscure to the populaces. On the other hand, it is sensible for many people from Cornerville but also challenging to stand the test of time (Whyte, 2012). I also realized the significance of the racketeers in determining their daily lives. It is usual that cohort after cohorts, few people essentially have memory of the racketeers that even their antecedents are not well informed on. Conversely, regardless of whether the residents still recall the consequence of the racketeers, it could be an absolute since they once succeed in significant encouragements on corner boys (Park et al, 1984).

Secondly, the racketeers can significantly influence politicians. Besides, this article brings it out as the confliction. She argues that Whyte has a close link with the political figures and the racketeers. This was impacted regardless of other beliefs that by that time, people in Cornerville do not essentially care about politics. In addition, all of the codes are correct, although some may misapprehend the key point. In fact, they previously used them in generating profits. Whereas the leaders of the gangs characterize their gain affiliates, albeit most of the associates are not well informed on politics, they are previously involved in politicking (Whyte, 2012).

Finally, the racketeers have the power of controlling the entire social structure of Cornerville. Whyte comes up with a fresh claim that the social structure in Cornerville is an amalgamation of the ancient Italian bequest and American life that later gets swayed by the racketeers. Therefore, it is clear that the social structure is focused on embracing change in the political arena, since people have to transform their lifestyles with the changes in the rules (Park et al, 1984).


It is true that park highlighted a premise in his book, which is perhaps the breaking down of local connections and the flagging of limitations. It also reduces the inhibitions of the primary group, under the stimulus of the urban environment, which is principally accountable for intensifying crime and other unwanted practices in our cities today.


Park, R. E., Burgess, E. W., & McKenzie, R. D. (1984). The City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Whyte, W. F. (2012). Street Corner Society: The Structure of an Italian Slum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.