Mara Salvatrucha Belonging Analysis

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a. Symbolic Interaction/pg. 23: a theoretical perspective in which society is viewed as composed of symbols that people use to establish meaning, develop their views of the world, and communicate with one another. The tattoos of Mara Salvatrucha are an example of symbolic interaction; these tattoos, symbols, enable the gang members to identify others who are involved in the same group or clique. Markings common to the MS13 gang include “MS,” the devil horns, which are an “M” when, displayed upside down, and “Mara Salvatrucha.” Tattoos can also express a member’s ranking within the gang, their accomplishments and memorialize those who lost their lives for the sake of the gang. Tattoos are useful in building a social identity within the gang, display allegiance to the gang and to send messages. Mara Salvatrucha tattoos are used to tell stories too. For example: one Mara Salvatrucha member has a tattoo to symbolize that he had been to jail. Another example is a tattoo with praying hands holding a rosary, which symbolizes an apology to the member’s mother. This represents that they know that they made a mistake by joining the gang, but acknowledging that they…show more content…
This occurs because the gang is in control of who is in the area and can essential cut off the rest of society if they felt like they needed to. An issue in El Salvador includes the Zika virus; officials are trying to tell everyone but there are areas owned and managed by the Mara Slvatrucha gang so they are blocked off from society. In addition to the community they control as a total institution, they are also sent to high security prisons, which are total institution controlled by the government. In El Salvador there are prisons that are strictly filled with only Mara Salvatrucha thirteen workers and members. There is word that once you are in the gang there is no hope; the only ways out are a hospital, death or jail.

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