Yogyakarta is a part of Javanese society. Javanese culture, which always enforces moral values, has a practical implication toward adolescents' views about their self-identity. Yogyakarta adolescents are well known to have positive self-identity, good behavior, and tend to become successful persons in their youth. In the past years, a phenomenon of youth gangs that often conduct irresponsible acts such as brawls, stabbing terror, and even murder has emerged. The question of the research is how adolescent members of a youth gang give meaning to their involvement in a youth gang. To answer the question, we used a phenomenological research method. We employed a modified Colaizzi method as defined by Moustakas (1994) to analyze the data. The participants of the research are adolescents with criteria as follows: coming from the Javanese family, living in Yogyakarta, a high school student, a member of a youth gang, had been involved in law violation. The research results show that Javanese adolescents, members of a youth gang, value their involvement in the gang as a means of showing their self-existence because the gang is the only place that provides wiggle room to express themselves, adolescents failed to construct values about self-existence, and also they lacked appreciation from their closest people and their environment.


Adolescent, Youth Gang, Self-Identity, Indonesia, Phenomenology

Author Bio(s)

Dr. Enung Hasanah is a researcher and a lecturer at the Educational Management Postgraduate Program of Universitas Ahmad Dahlan, Yogyakarta, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She received her Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Sciences – Social Science Education from Yogyakarta State University, Indonesia. Enung Hasanah also a member of BAN SM Propinsi Yogyakarta (National Accreditation Council for School/Madrasa Special Region of Yogyakarta). Her major research interests include social science, educational psychology, educational science, and culture. Please direct correspondence to enung.hasanah@mp.uad.ac.id.

Dr. Supardi is a senior lecturer and researcher at the Faculty of Social Science, Universitas Negeri Yogyakarta, Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta, Indonesia. He received his Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Sciences from Yogyakarta State University, Indonesia. His major research interests include educational sciences, philosophy of education, history, social science, and culture. Please direct correspondence to pardi@uny.ac.id.


We thank our colleagues from Yogyakarta State University and Ahmad Dahlan University, who provided insight and expertise that greatly assisted the research. We would also like to show our gratitude to the headmasters of schools in Yogyakarta for providing opportunity and information in the process of the research. We thank 3 “anonymous” participants for the cooperation to give the interviews for the research. We have no conflicts of interest to disclose and no cooperating organization and foundation for the work of the manuscript.

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