i explore the social identity of a group of young crack users living in one of the metropolis in northeast brazil. considering age as social construction, other factors show up and contribute to the categorization of these persons. when the "street-child" system was applied in the neighborhood where this research took place, i found out how the children re-appropriated these categories. i analyze the strategies of consumption and meanings given to the use of crack by the young. the concepts of sub-culture and deviant are rejected and i describe concrete realities and micro and macro social mechanisms that impinge in childhood experiences in contemporary brazil. the aim is to prove the limits of the categories: childhood, adolescence and youth to renew the debate in childhood studies and the new studies on the young.