This article proposes a theoretical and ethnographic reflection on youth violence and the social representation on violence itself in the public space in the outskirts of Barcelona. The reflection comes from a study on the use of public spaces and cultural practices of young people, referring in particular to Latin American youth, in L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, suburbian industrial city in the metropolitan area of the Catalan capital. The specific case of the analysis is about the youth street organisations, called ‘Latin gangs’ by media and public opinion. Our purpose is based on the de-criminalization of ‘gangs’ and other collectives often stigmatized, in order to work with these groups with a regard to positive values, from an educational point of view. We think that are the values (result of the habitus in the sense given by Bourdieu) that lie behind the violent practices and give it validity. Analyzing the violent practices in depth means to elaborate discourses about values and create a debate within the youth groups, which is what a good social intervention should stimulate.
Keywords: Youth; violence; latin american street gangs; street organisations; cultural practices; public space.