Gangs and Society: Alternative Perspectives

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Overview

Compiled by three leading experts in the psychological, sociological, and criminal justice fields, this volume addresses timely questions from an eclectic range of positions. The product of a landmark conference on gangs, Gangs and Society brings together the work of academics, activists, and community leaders to examine the many functions and faces of gangs today. Analyzing the spread of gangs from New York to Texas to the West Coast, the book covers such topics as the spirituality of gangs, the place of women in gang culture, and the effect on gangs of a variety of educational programs and services for at-risk youth. The final chapter examines the "gang-photography phenomenon" by looking at the functions and politics of different approaches to gang photography and features a photographic essay by Donna DeCesare, an award-winning journalist.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare - Matthew T. Theriot

The book's editors...do a remarkable job of highlighting the economic, political, social and cultural factors that impact the activities of gangs.

Choice

A refreshing anthology on gang life in the US. The editors have compiled fascinating, serious, and informative articles concerned with the theoretical and methodological contexts of gang research, women and gangs, links between gangs and politics, the problems of youth and gang life, and the social control of gangs... An excellent, very readable source. Highly recommended.

Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare
The book's editors...do a remarkable job of highlighting the economic, political, social and cultural factors that impact the activities of gangs.

— Matthew T. Theriot

Contemporary Sociology - Sean P. Varano

The popular image that depicts gangs as nothing more than criminal enterprises is too restrictive a picture. Gangs and Society moves beyond this tradition and instead represents an important advancement in understanding the role gangs play in some urban communities.... this work is certainly a meaningful addition to the existing gang literature.

Tom Hayden

Finally! A solidly researched book that challenges the conservative academic dogma of gang members as incorrigible superpredators.... May this book provoke a great rethinking of all that is amiss in our society today.

City Limits

From the Jets to the Bloods to the Latin Kings, gangs have long symbolized the roughest parts of urban America. Still, argues this collection of essays, crime and theft are just a part of what fuels their existence; gangs' roles in communities is far more complex.

Choice

A refreshing anthology on gang life in the US. The editors have compiled fascinating, serious, and informative articles concerned with the theoretical and methodological contexts of gang research, women and gangs, links between gangs and politics, the problems of youth and gang life, and the social control of gangs... An excellent, very readable source. Highly recommended.

Contemporary Sociology
The popular image that depicts gangs as nothing more than criminal enterprises is too restrictive a picture. Gangs and Society moves beyond this tradition and instead represents an important advancement in understanding the role gangs play in some urban communities.... this work is certainly a meaningful addition to the existing gang literature.

— Sean P. Varano

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231121408
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 5/21/2003
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Louis Kontos is an associate professor of sociology at Long Island University, C. W. Post campus. David C. Brotherton is an associate professor of sociology and criminal justice at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the CUNY Graduate Center. Luis Barrios is an assistant professor of psychology at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. With David Brotherton, he co-authored Between Black and Gold: The Street Politics of the Almighty Latin King and Queen Nation (Columbia 2003).

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Pt. 1 Theory and Methodology 1
1 A Note on Social Theory and the American Street Gang 3
2 Toward a Typology of Contemporary Mexican American Youth Gangs 12
3 The Negligible Role of Gangs in Drug Distribution in New York City in the 1990s 41
4 Marginal Youth, Personal Identity, and the Contemporary Gang: Reconstructing the Social World? 62
Pt. 2 Gangs and Politics 75
5 Gangs and the Contemporary Urban Struggle: An Unappreciated Aspect of Gangs 77
6 Urban Street Activists: Gang and Community Efforts to Bring Peace and Justice to Los Angeles Neighborhoods 95
Pt. 3 Gangs, Agency, and At-Risk Youth 117
7 The Algmighty Latin King and Queen Nation and the Spirituality of Resistance: Agency, Social Cohesion, and Liberating Rituals in the Making of a Street Organization 119
8 Education in the Reform of Street Organizations in New York City 136
Pt. 4 Women and Gangs 159
9 Liberating Yet Limiting: The Paradox of Female Gang Membership 161
10 Amor de Reina! The Pushes and Pulls of Group Membership among the Latin Queens 183
Pt. 5 Gangs and Social Control 211
11 Gangs and the Law 213
12 The Gang Crackdown in the Prisons of Massachusetts: Arbitrary and Harsh Treatment Can Only Make Matters Worse 228
Pt. 6 Gangs and Photography 253
13 On the Subject of Gang Photography 255
14 From Civil War to Gang War: The Tragedy of Edgar Bolanos 283
15 Snapshots of a Movement: The New York Latin Kings and Queens 1996-99 314
Contributors 337
Index 341
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