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Article
Publication date: 8 April 2014

Kacey Shap

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to examine the components of a gang culture in conflict with society, and second, to explore how gangs, the community, and law…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is twofold: first, to examine the components of a gang culture in conflict with society, and second, to explore how gangs, the community, and law enforcers externalize the gang problem from the vantage point of worldview and worldmaking.

Design/methodology/approach

The researcher gathered news articles from the Nexus-Lexis research database system within a one-year period (from February 2012 to February 2013). The data was randomly selected and representative of newspapers published throughout the USA. The news articles were coded based upon the aspects of culture (lens of perception, motives for human behaviors, criteria for evaluation, basis of identification, means for communication, justification for social stratification, and mode for production and consumption). A thematic analysis was also conducted to determine: the aspects of gang culture in conflicts with society; and how the gangs, the community, and the law enforcements externalize the gang conflict.

Findings

Results suggest that gang violence is largely due to issues of identity, values, and gang cohesiveness rather than the result of the pathologically based environmental conditions. Criteria for evaluation and issue of identity constituted 66 percent of the violent conflict with society. In the context of worldviews and worldmaking, gang members and law enforcement personnel are more likely to adopt a rigid, win-lose framework while members of the community are more likely to prescribe to a flexible and holistic perspective toward the gang problem. In sum, gang violence is not necessarily a deviant or antisocial act; rather, it is a result of the conflicting narratives between the gang cultures and the culture-at-large.

Research limitations/implications

In dissecting gang behavior from a cultural perspective, it is easy to categorize gangs as a collective subculture. However, gang members may not view themselves as a subculture nor consider themselves as belonging to a subculture community.

Practical implications

By examining the function of culture – in this case, the gang culture – as it conflicts with society at large, one may better able to develop an action plan that emphasize identities, cultures, and values rather than crime and punishment. Also, it may help shed light on how the various stakeholders (i.e. the gangs, law enforcements, and the community) perceive the conflict, which may assist researcher to develop a comprehensive and holistic approach toward intervention. Finally, implementing a culturally based gang violence intervention may reduce cost.

Originality/value

This research is unique in that it analyzes the function of gang violence in relation to the society-at-large. Also, the research addresses the issue as to how the various stakeholders interpret the “gang problem.” Finally, this research is innovative in that it employs news articles as units of analysis rather than the traditional qualitative interviews or quantitative surveys.

Details

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, vol. 6 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-6599

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Book part
Publication date: 4 October 2021

Dariusz Dziewanski

Abstract

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Gang Entry and Exit in Cape Town
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-731-7

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Article
Publication date: 4 May 2009

John Pitts

In this article John Pitts contrasts John Hegedorn's account of the proliferation of violent youth gangs with those of conventional gang scholars.

Abstract

In this article John Pitts contrasts John Hegedorn's account of the proliferation of violent youth gangs with those of conventional gang scholars.

Details

Safer Communities, vol. 8 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1757-8043

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Book part
Publication date: 5 August 2011

Yu-Hsuan Lin

Purpose – Recent research on the gender culture and femininity of adolescent girls found that girls construct their gender identity in various ways that are intertwined…

Abstract

Purpose – Recent research on the gender culture and femininity of adolescent girls found that girls construct their gender identity in various ways that are intertwined with race, ethnicity, social class, and sexual orientation. However, these existing studies focused on either general schoolgirls (see Ali, S. (2003). To be a girl: Culture and class in schools. Gender and Education, 15(3), 269–283; Bettie (2003); Weiler, J. D. (2000). Codes and contradictions: Race, gender identity and schooling. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press; Renold, E. (2005). Girls, boys and junior sexualities: Exploring children's gender and sexual relations in the primary school. London: Routledge) or delinquent girls in a gang (see Miller, J. (1998). Gender and victimization risk among young women in gangs. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 35, 429–453; Miller (2001); Joe-Laidler & Hunt (2001); Schalet, A., Hunt, G., & Joe-Laidler, K. (2003). Respectability and autonomy: The articulation and meaning of sexuality among the girls in the gang. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 32, 108–143; Messerschmidt (1995); Messerschmidt, J. W. (1997). Crime as structured action: Gender, race, class, and crime in the making. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage), and only a few studies paid attention to girls who showed overt oppositional behaviors at school.

Methods – The research uses qualitative methods and explores the gender identity of two adolescent girls in a junior high school in Taiwan, who are regarded as problem or “bad” girls by the school faculty.

Results – The two girls both manifested “ladette” culture (Jackson, 2006). On the one hand, they showed masculine behaviors such as fighting, troublemaking, disobeying school regulations, and using drugs and alcohol. On the other hand, they deliberately emphasized their femininity and sexual maturity in the way they dressed, talked, and behaved.

Details

The Well-Being, Peer Cultures and Rights of Children
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78052-075-9

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Article
Publication date: 31 January 2011

David Pyrooz, Scott Decker and Mark Fleisher

This article examines a range of issues associated with gangs in incarcerated settings. We begin by examining the similarities and differences between street and prison…

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Abstract

This article examines a range of issues associated with gangs in incarcerated settings. We begin by examining the similarities and differences between street and prison gangs, and differentiating them from other types of criminal groups. Next, we focus on the emergence and growth of gangs in prison, including patterns and theoretical explanations. Importantly, we draw theoretical linkages between differing perspectives on gang emergence and gang violence. We also present administrative and official responses to gangs in prison. Finally, we discuss the movement from prison to the street, examining the difficulties that former prisoners face when re‐entering communities.

Details

Journal of Aggression, Conflict and Peace Research, vol. 3 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1759-6599

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Book part
Publication date: 4 October 2021

Dariusz Dziewanski

Abstract

Details

Gang Entry and Exit in Cape Town
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-83909-731-7

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Article
Publication date: 9 April 2018

Geraldine Ann Akerman

The purpose of this paper is to consider the impact having been in a gang has on being in a group in a democratic therapeutic community (DTC). In particular what…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the impact having been in a gang has on being in a group in a democratic therapeutic community (DTC). In particular what characteristics attract (in this case) males to join a gang and or group, and what is the impact on a DTC of having former gang members in it.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is a discussion paper considering the implications of the points raised above. It also includes results of research relating to the “Changing the Game” programme.

Findings

The findings result from experience of having worked in the environment, reviewing available literature, conducting research and having managed some of the issues raised. It is not a research paper but does present findings.

Research limitations/implications

This is a conceptual paper which incorporates findings from this author and others on the impact of gangs in a DTC. There is limited research in this area and so much is drawn from findings in other settings.

Originality/value

Little is written on the impact of having been in a gang and the dynamics that introduces in a forensic DTC. Therefore, it is hoped that it will encourage further research in this area.

Details

Therapeutic Communities: The International Journal of Therapeutic Communities, vol. 39 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-1866

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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2009

Terry O'Brien

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305

Abstract

Details

Reference Reviews, vol. 23 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0950-4125

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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2016

Daniel Walter Scott and Cheryl Lee Maxson

The purpose of this paper is to examine characteristics of gang organization in youth correctional facilities as reported by youth and staff as well as to analyze the…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine characteristics of gang organization in youth correctional facilities as reported by youth and staff as well as to analyze the relationship between institutional violence and level of gang organization.

Design/methodology/approach

The data were collected through interviews with staff and youth in correctional facilities. Gang organization level averages are compared across youth and official perspectives, and the variability of responses among youth is also examined. Negative binomial regression models are conducted to determine the association between perceived level of gang organization and officially recorded violent behavior, both prior to and subsequent to the interview.

Findings

Perceptions of institutional gang organization vary notably depending on who is reporting. In contrast with prior studies of street gangs, controlling for youth demographics and offense characteristics, the authors find no significant relationship between gang organization and violence.

Research limitations/implications

The sample size is small and the data are cross-sectional. Future studies will need to be conducted in order to confirm these findings, as they contradict prior studies. The analysis of street gang organization may need to be approached differently by scholars.

Originality/value

Research has not been conducted on the organizational structure of gangs in youth correctional facilities or its relationship to institutional violence.

Details

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3841

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Article
Publication date: 13 June 2016

Emma Alleyne and Elizabeth Pritchard

Research has demonstrated that girls are involved in gangs as members and affiliates. However, the psychological processes related to female gang membership has, to date…

Abstract

Purpose

Research has demonstrated that girls are involved in gangs as members and affiliates. However, the psychological processes related to female gang membership has, to date, not been examined using a rigorous comparative design. The purpose of this paper is to assess whether female gang members exhibit distinct psychological and behavioral features when compared to female non-gang youth.

Design/methodology/approach

In total, 117 female students were recruited from all-girls’ secondary schools in London, UK. Gang members (n=22; identified using the Eurogang definition) were compared to non-gang youth (n=95) on self-report measures of criminal activity, sexual activity, self-esteem, anti-authority attitudes, their perceived importance of social status, and hypermasculinity, using a series of MANCOVAs.

Findings

The results found that gang members reported significantly more criminal activity, sexual activity, unwanted sexual contact, and held more anti-authority attitudes when compared to their non-gang counterparts.

Practical implications

These findings support Pyrooz et al.’s (2014) findings that gang membership contributes to the theoretical conceptualization of the victim-offender overlap. Practitioners need to take this into consideration when working with female gang members.

Originality/value

There is very little research that explicitly examines the characteristics of female gang members with suitable comparison groups. This study adds to the growing literature on female involvement in gangs and highlights the distinct psychological and behavioral characteristics of this group. In summary, these findings support the notion that female gang members are both at risk of being sexually exploited and engaging in criminal activities.

Details

Journal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice, vol. 2 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2056-3841

Keywords

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