New Book Project – Shoulder Tapping at the Amoco Station: What Millennial Boys in the Suburbs Tell Us about Juvenile Delinquency

Today I am happy to announce that I am embarking on my second book project. I was incredibly humbled from the task and experience of co-authoring “Unleashing Manhood in the Cage.” And I have enjoyed all of the positive impact that has come from its publication, but it is time now to start something new.

One of the best pieces of advice in writing is to “write what you know.” From both a personal and professional standpoint, I know juvenile delinquency.

As a sociologist and teacher, I have spent my career studying the psychological and social lives of young men and I am continually returning to my own life experiences as an adolescent in the 1990’s to describe and understand them. Therefore I have decided to write a semi-autoethnographic book on my experiences and their relation to our understanding the social science of crime and delinquency for young men in the early millennial generation.

I think the book will do well because when I relay my experience of adolescence in the suburbs outside of Pittsburgh in the 1990’s to outsiders their most common reaction to my  tapestry of stories of street fights, petty crimes, school truancy and insubordination, parties, and substance abuse is that of shock and disbelief. It is even more remarkable – from a social science perspective – because I keep in regular touch with many, if not most, of the people whom I’ve shared these experiences and can explain and provide details of the remarkably varied trajectories their lives have taken.

I will give myself two years to develop the book, which I am tentatively calling “Shoulder Tapping at the Amoco Station: What Millennial Boys in the Suburbs Tell Us about Juvenile Delinquency.”

I will be blogging parts of the first drafts of all the chapters and will be asking for feedback on them from my friends and followers here and on facebook and twitter. I will be reaching out to many of the people who are part of these stories to get their interpretations of what occurred and will try to include as much as I possibly can.

I will also be asking others to share pictures from this period, historical records, news clippings, and other material of importance. The point will be to get the story as accurate as possible – and items that take me beyond memory will be of precious importance.

The tentative chapters of the book are going to be:

  1. Introduction
  2. Tough love and becoming delinquent in 1990’s suburbia (historical analysis)
  3. Scripts of ritalin (psychiatric theory)
  4. You made a choice to skip class (rational choice)
  5. Foot patrol (control theory)
  6. The class clown (anomie theory)
  7. Losers (labeling theory)
  8. The off-season (differential association)
  9. They don’t understand us (conflict theory)
  10. I’d rather have you do that here (family and delinquency)
  11. Wood shop crew (schools and delinquency)
  12. The point (peers and delinquency)
  13. Tom Green, Half Baked, and Jackass (media and delinquency)
  14. Running from the cops (police and juveniles)
  15. Busted (courts and juveniles)
  16. Anklets (corrections and juveniles)
  17. Turning points (life course trajectories)
  18. Postscript