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Gangsters: Fifty Years of Madness, Drugs, and Death on the Streets of America

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... Hierarchical structures within a gang are often age-graded (Klein 2006); the subgrouping of its members is differentiated based on identified roles within gang (Vigil 1988). Operating with some form of leadership, many gangs maintain three distinct subgrouping: a primary gang leader(s) (Original Gangstas: OGs), associates or regulars (Gangstas: Gs), and on the fringe, "wannabes' or recruits (WBs) (Yablonsky 1997). ...
... Delaney (2006) asserts WBs can be one of the most dangerous levels within a gang, because wannabees are willing to do anything to "put in work". Therefore, with respect to degrees of criminal involvement, WBs commits more of the violent and delinquent acts to get the attention of OGs in order to establish a reputation and status within a gang (Yablonsky 1997). ...
... A mission is an illegal and often violent act (Decker and Van Winkle 1996). These finding are consistent with gang literature, which suggests joining a gang involves being V-ed in (Hagedorn 1998;Vigil 1988;Yablonsky 1997). ...
... For example , there is evidence that having a family member who is involved in a gang is more strongly associated with gang membership among African American males than among Hispanic males (Curry & Spergel, 1992). Other researchers have speculated that living in a single-parent family places African American and Hispanic youth at risk for joining gangs (Yablonsky, 1997). ...
... There is some evidence that low socioeconomic status is associated with gang membership among girls and boys (Burris-Kitchen, 1997; Dukes, Martinez, & Stein, 1997; Molidor, 1996; Moore, 1991). For many adolescents, gangs—through participation in illegal activities (e.g., selling drugs)—may provide access to money and material possessions not available through conventional employment (Bursik & Grasmick, 1993; Jankowski, 1991; Klein, 1995; Padilla, 1993; Taylor, 1990; Yablonsky, 1997). Researchers have also pointed to needs for safety and protection as motivating factors for youth gang involvement (Calabrese & Noboa, 1995; Dukes et al., 1997; Friedman et al., 1975; Klein, 1995; O'Hagan, 1976). ...
... Findings from interview and survey data indicate that male gang members often cite companionship , excitement, and heterosexual contacts as the primary advantages of gang membership (Friedman et al., 1975; Hochhaus & Sousa, 1988; Jankowski, 1991; Joe & Chesney-Lind, 1995; Klein, 1995). There is also evidence that adolescents join gangs to compensate for low self-esteem (Dukes et al., 1997; Herrmann, McWhirter, & Sipsas-Herrmann, 1997; Yablonsky, 1997). ...
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This study examines ethnic minority girls' perceptions of risk factors for female gang involvement. Thirty-one female students at an alternative school in a high-crime, ur-ban environment were interviewed with regard to their beliefs about why adolescents join gangs. Peer pressure was believed to be the largest influence on female gang in-volvement. In addition, it was thought that girls might turn to gangs for protection from neighborhood crime, abusive families, and other gangs. Family characteristics linked to gang involvement included lack of parental warmth and family conflict. Fur-thermore, gangs, through their participation in illegal activities, were viewed as pro-viding access to excitement and moneymaking opportunities not available through more legitimate societal institutions. Finally, adolescents may view gang membership as a way of obtaining respect. Implications for intervention programs and future re-search are discussed.
... A key question in the literature on gang culture, recruitment and socialization is why boys join gangs (Stretesky and Pogrebin, 2007;Grant and Feimer, 2007;Klein and Maxon, 2006;Jankowski, 1991;Yablonsky, 1997;Klein, 1995). Grant and Feimer identify five aggregate responses of why urban youth join gangs. ...
... Johnstone (1983) mentions parental support, as an important aspect of adolescent development, and acknowledges that the extent to which parents provide continued moral and emotional support especially during periods of stress or difficulty are key to a child's healthy psychosocial development. This suggests that family support is indicative as a protective factor, as do the comments of Yablonsky (1997) and Goldstein (1991) mentioned earlier. Respondents in this study reported problems in their family life that they felt were directly linked to their feelings of anger, frustration and subsequent gang affiliation. ...
... A child's orientation and adaptation to social reality as well as the interpreting and defining reality is a major function in parenting (Bieber, 1980). It is well known from past as well as more recent studies on street gangs that children residing in single-parent mother headed households have higher rates of gang involvement (Yablonsky, 1997;Vigil, 1988;Espensen et al., 2009). In a study by Vigil (1988), he found that 9 out of 13 informants from mostly mother-centered households were regular gang members. ...
... Forced to confront social obstacles such as living in impoverished conditions, cut off from surrounding flourishing communities, scarce resources, limited employment opportunities, the continual flow of drugs and alcohol, and impending incarceration can fuel the drive to join a gang (Anderson, 1994;Doucette-Gates, 1999;Peralta, 2009;Vigil, 1988;Wilson, 1987;Zatz and Portillos, 2000). Though, collectively, these aspects are thought to be catalysts in producing feelings of hopelessness (Bolland, 2003;Carlie, 2002;Yablonsky, 1997). Much of what is believed to cause gang involvement is mirrored in the literature on hopelessness. ...
... In essence, gang life seems desirable in that it demands authority and dominance from the host community, something youth are unable to obtain without the assistance of gang members. Yablonsky (1997) Virtually all scholarly work on gangs isolates the idea of respect as having an important role in the lives of gang youth (Anderson, 1994;Jankowski, 1991;Peralta, 2009). The notion of respect is perhaps most apparent in Anderson's (1994) Code of the Streets. ...
... Though some of the earliest research on gangs had a more open-ended definition of the gang (e.g., Thrasher 1927), over time, academics began defining gangs by their criminal behavior (Augustyn et al. 2019;Klein 1971). In the 1980s, when many policies were being developed to address urban gangs, the subcultural perspectives (Cohen 1955) became peripheral in gang discourse, which instead focused on individual thinking and psychological explanations for gang violence (Yablonsky 1997) rather than looking at the social contexts in which it occurs. This in turn motivated decades of anti-gang policy and inspired social control responses of the state (Brotherton 2008). ...
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This article draws on 287 in-depth interviews with young New York City gang members to understand the roles gangs serve in their lives, the impact of labeling the gang as criminal, and what a more critical perspective on gangs reveals about violence. Findings show that these youth find themselves in double-binds. While their gang membership is largely a reaction to the inequities and marginality they face from the police, unemployment, and poverty, efforts they undertake to survive—joining gangs, selling drugs, carrying weapons—only deepen their vulnerability to discrimination, involvement in the criminal legal system, and interpersonal violence. Violence prevention programs that eschew structural violence as a root cause of crime and community violence cannot succeed in achieving long-term safety for such communities. Prevention efforts must address the realities of what gangs provide for their members, building safe space and supportive community to bridge participants to the supports they need.
... Much of our knowledge about gangs emanates from the USA where systematic empirical research has been conducted since the 1920s (Thrasher, 1927;Cloward and Ohlin, 1960;Yablonsky, 1997). Until the 1990s rigorous gang research in Europe was largely absent, bar perhaps James Patrick's A Glasgow Gang Observed (Patrick, 1973). ...
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Purpose – The aim of this paper is to help in understanding the relationship between the construction of the male identity and how social violence may be “reproduced” (using the concept of habitus after Pierre Bourdieu), in poor and socially excluded contexts. The paper aims to inform debate and policy making. Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on empirical data collected in 2008, in the form of life-history interviews with male youths – including members and non-members of gangs – from two poor and very violent neighbourhoods in Medellín, Colombia's second largest city. Findings – Masculinities alone do not account for urban violence, but they play an integral role why violence is reproduced. In socio-economically excluded contexts the gang becomes an attractive vehicle for “doing masculinity” for boys and young men. Youths who did not join gangs tended to have family support to develop a “moral rejection” of gangs, crime and violence during childhood, which contributed to them finding non-gang pathways to manhood. Youths who joined gangs were less likely to develop this “moral rejection” during childhood, often due to family problems; and were more likely to admire older gang members, and perceive the gang as an attractive pathway to manhood. Research limitations/implications – As the sole researcher a limited number of 32 individuals were interviewed. Originality/value – There is a lack of research on masculinities and gang affiliation in the UK and across the globe. This paper provides new conceptual ideas for understanding why young men make up the vast majority of violent gang members, whilst providing an original data set from a very violent urban setting.
... Howell describes serious urban street gangs as having five characteristics: territorialism, honor-based conflict, fighting postures that provide individual status, well-organized structures, and an affinity for particular types of crime (i.e., drug trafficking). Howell then draws from Lewis Yablonsky's (1997) research on sociopathic gang members to empirically confirm his conceptualization of gang transformation. ...
... This experience of a common enemy may have briefly fostered an atmosphere of relative peace among gangs from the same Gang Nation, which for the purpose of this analysis most notably included the Mickey Cobras and Blackstones. Race may in this way have been a factor in explaining why putative members of two rival gangs could be found gambling with each other in the Tilden High School bathroom (Yablonsky 1997). In the overarching organizational structure of the Gang Nation, the Blackstones and the Mickey Cobras were sometimes friendly affiliates who fell under the branch of the "Peoples." ...
Article
Urban school violence is common and when it becomes fatal constitutes a neglected theoretical counterpoint to highly publicized rural and suburban school shootings. Joseph White shot and killed Delondyn Lawson and injured two other youths at Tilden High School in the last fatal Chicago school shooting nearly a decade ago. This event was portrayed in extensive news coverage as random and senseless and by a jury trial as a first-degree homicide that was inexcusable as self-defense. Journalism often is described as the first draft of history, and trials often are seen as the more definitive record. Yet neither journalism nor trials are comprehensive sources of social history, especially of social conflict. The authors demonstrate that journalistic accounts can prejudge and stereotype lethal school violence, that trials often further depict these conflicts in legally authoritative but restricted and misleading ways, and that an exclusive focus on rural and suburban settings obscures a broader theoretical understanding of deadly school shootings.
... During the 1980s and 1990s, gang membership research expanded to offer an increasingly complex variety of predictors and outcomes associated with membership (e.g., Klein, 1995;Sachs, 1997;Spergel, 1995;Yablonsky, 1997). Gang membership is now regarded as a more complicated and intricate phenomenon with multiple margins and attention to the edges of a "fluid social structure" employing terms such as "wannabe, core, fringe, associate, hardcore, and O.G. (original gangster)" with a continuum of membership (Maxson, 1998). ...
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The purpose of this study is to identify the major risk factor domains for gang membership and the relationships of these risk factors to eighth grade students. The domains of risk factors include: individual characteristics, peer group influences, family conditions, school experiences and the community context, along with demographic information obtained from the Student Gang Survey items. Through logistic multiple regression, risk factors associated with school, peer, community-neighborhood, and family were used to predict gang membership. Demographic data were also used as predictor variables. Results indicated that an increase in Community-Neighborhood Risk was associated with a decrease in joining a gang. Non-significant findings for Peer Risk, School Risk, Family Risk and demographic variables are additionally discussed. The current research identifies issues which middle school youth encounter in a county setting; provides a homegrown report to assist stakeholders (administrators, teachers, parents, students, and law enforcement) in identifying locally relevant risk factors of gang behavior; and substantiates risk factors for gang membership proliferation in those neighborhoods with no recently documented history of gangs.
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Using ethnographic data from Los Angeles, this article examines the ritualized forms of verbal communication used in two Chicano gang recovery programs, Homeboy Industries and Victory Outreach. These two distinctive programs facilitate recovery from gangs through contrasting models of communication anchored in religion and therapeutic rehabilitation. In recovery, ritualized verbal displays subordinate gang masculinity and elevate conventional notions of masculinity. Former gang members use sermons, group therapy, 12-step programs, and personal testimonials to articulate hegemonic ideals of masculinity, such as responsible fatherhood. A critical component of these gang rehabilitation programs rearticulates the meanings of Chicano masculinity to include abstaining from drug use, providing for family members, and engaging in nurturing behavior. Through these verbal rituals, reformed gang masculinity is repositioned as dominant, desirable, and accessible to marginalized Chicano men with past gang affiliations and addictions.
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The current Georgia study examines middle-school-aged gang and non-gang members regarding the risk factors of gang membership and potential effects of these risk factors on academic achievement. Participants, 406 eighth grade students from a suburban middle-school, completed a 42-item survey assessing an array of demographic and risk factor variables. In addition, students provided self-report information regarding their success on national standardized testing used to measure academics readiness. Of the 28 variables analyzed, lower academic readiness was associated with ethnicity and/or gang membership. Findings are discussed in light of the complexity of the gang issue and the importance of recognizing the specificity associated with demographic predictors. Researchers are encouraged to continue exploring gang involvement in a variety of settings investigating differences in locality, school structure, and race/ethnicity. Teachers, parents, school administrators, and other key stakeholders may examine the aforementioned differences to collaboratively develop and share prevention and intervention successes and failures to enhance academic readiness and reduce gang involvement among youth.
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One of the oldest and most controversial issues in the study of terrorism involves the mental health status among actors who commit this type of violence. A consensus has emerged among scholars that terrorists are relatively normal in terms of mental health, and thus, studying mental health is not a useful line of investigation. In contrast, we find a large portion of our sample of former violent U.S. White supremacists report mental health problems before and/or during their involvement. Individuals with mental health problems may be attracted to the White supremacist movement because of the ideological similarities to certain types of mental health symptoms such as paranoia, elevated levels of anger, and a sense of persecution. Additionally, results suggest that violent White supremacist groups do not actively filter prospective or current members for mental health problems. Findings provide evidence for the ongoing need to examine mental health factors among a variety of terrorist organizations and suggest that the emerging consensus may be an example of overgeneralization.
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The goal of this study was to understand whether ethnic pride among young, incarcerated Black and Latino men was associated with successful community reentry. We interviewed 397 Black and Latino men 16 to 18 years old in a New York City jail and then again 1 year after their release to determine the relationship between participants’ sense of ethnic pride during incarceration, and substance use, violence, recidivism, and education/employment after release from jail. Participants with higher ethnic pride scores were less likely to engage in illegal activities and be reincarcerated. Ethnic pride was also associated with feeling safe in gangs and positive attitudes toward avoiding violence in situations of conflict. Ethnic pride was not associated with substance use, education, or engagement in community-based organizations post release. This study demonstrated that ethnic pride might be a source of strength that young men of color can harness for successful community reentry after release from jail.
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BOOK AVAILABLE AT: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Violence-Margins-Global-Comparative-Ethnography-ebook/dp/B00U2UI19K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428339553&sr=8-1&keywords=violence+at+the+urban+margins In the Americas, debates around issues of citizen's public safety--from debates that erupt after highly publicized events, such as the shootings of Jordan Davis and Trayvon Martin, to those that recurrently dominate the airwaves in Latin America--are dominated by members of the middle and upper-middle classes. However, a cursory count of the victims of urban violence in the Americas reveals that the people suffering the most from violence live, and die, at the lowest of the socio-symbolic order, at the margins of urban societies. However, the inhabitants of the urban margins are hardly ever heard in discussions about public safety. They live in danger but the discourse about violence and risk belongs to, is manufactured and manipulated by, others--others who are prone to view violence at the urban margins as evidence of a cultural, or racial, defect, rather than question violence's relationship to economic and political marginalization. As a result, the experience of interpersonal violence among the urban poor becomes something unspeakable, and the everyday fear and trauma lived in relegated territories is constantly muted and denied. This edited volume seeks to counteract this pernicious tendency by putting under the ethnographic microscope--and making public--the way in which violence is lived and acted upon in the urban peripheries. It features cutting-edge ethnographic research on the role of violence in the lives of the urban poor in South, Central, and North America, and sheds light on the suffering that violence produces and perpetuates, as well as the individual and collective responses that violence generates, among those living at the urban margins of the Americas.
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This chapter uses original empirical data from marginalised urban communities in Medellín, Colombia, to move beyond simplistic interpretations of male violence by considering the nexus between masculinities and class, gang sub-culture, and the role of both men and women in the reproduction of urban violence. Conceptually, Pierre Bourdieu's concept of capital is used to highlight the performance and display of gangland masculine identities with particular attention given to the complex role that gangland girlfriends play in both reinforcing certain 'successful' male gang identities, whilst simultaneously becoming victims of a sexual violence, namely rape.
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In the maelstrom of globalization and cyberspace, organized crime continues to defy definition. A diverse array of activities is perpetuated by criminal organizations, criminal groups and associations, and gangs, and it is clear that one specific label is no longer adequate. This book offers a uniquely global approach to organized crime and the multitude of forces that shape it in the 21st century. As well as discussing definitions of and the historical roots of organized crime, this book examines various forms of organized crime around the world in the US, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean, Russia and Europe, Asia and Africa. This revised and updated new edition includes coverage of: the rise of the 'Ndrangheta in Italy and their global expansion; the impact of drug legalization on organized crime and the problem of methamphetamine; organ trading, money laundering, and animal poaching; changes in gang traditions and gangland penitentiaries; the decentralization of Mexican cartels, the growth of opium production in Myanmar, and the drug war in Africa; and the advancement of ISIS and the emergence of the Silk Road and the Dark Net. This book is essential reading for students engaged in the study of global and transnational organized crime, with features including chapter overviews, key terms, critical thinking questions, and case studies.
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p>Las teorías que se han centrado en la represión del incesto (Freud, Levi-Strauss) o en la existencia de un contrato social (Hobbes, Rousseau) han generado mucha atención en, respectivamente, el estudio de la familia y el Estado, y muy poca en el de las pequeñas asociaciones igualitarias de varones jóvenes. En el presente ensayo, adheriremos a las teorías biológico-antropológicas de Boehm (1999; 2000a; 2009; 2012), Sterelny (2011; 2016) y Marean (2016) acerca de la evolución de la cooperación. Dichos enfoques proponen a las sanciones sociales y a la resolución de conflictos como mecanismos que condujeron, en el Paleolítico superior, a las primeras formas de organización social igualitaria realizadas por las bandas de cazadores-recolectores. Sostendremos que tales estructuras de organización social siguen presentes allí donde bandas y pandillas operan con igual o mayor importancia que otras instituciones (la familia, los cacicazgos, el Estado-Nación). Con ayuda de la extensa literatura sobre modelos ecológicos de violencia y territorialidad, mostraremos que la existencia de bandas y pandillas (desde el Pleistoceno, pasando por la Era Vikinga, hasta la crisis de violencia en Centroamérica a principios del siglo xxi) se explica en gran medida por la competencia por los recursos y es una forma paradójica de organización cooperativa.</p
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This paper is a discussion of the apocalyptic themes in contemporary forms of youth violence, especially its totalism and end-of-the-world imagery. At Columbine High, in April 1999, two students chose the apocalyptic date of April 20, Hitler's birthday, to carry out their rampage. That violence connects with a long history of American fascination with the gun, and images of regeneration through violence itself grows out of an urban landscape of despair. The apocalyptic, however, is not simply the result of social crisis. We live with imagery of extinction and cannot fully trust a human future. The apocalyptic, in other words, itself evokes youth violence. These intersecting themes are illustrated with the case of Cliff.
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