Studying Youth Gangs

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In this absorbing new collection, Short and Hughes and their distinguished coauthors investigate why and how we study youth gangs. Over the last half-century of research by criminologists, sociologists, and gang experts, investigations of gang behavior have become increasingly specialized and isolated from studies of delinquency and deviance. The authors challenge popular and inaccurate definitions of gangs vs. non-gang youth groups, and show how the amazing diversity of gangs_both domestic and international_demands more rigorous study. This book stimulates thinking about valid methods of defining and interpreting gang behavior, in order to better understand delinquent and criminal behaviors, and their control. It is an ideal text for criminal justice, sociology, and social work courses, and a resource for law enforcement, probation and parole practitioners, and public defenders.

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Editorial Reviews

Robert J. Bursik
As one of my colleagues likes to say, this is 'criminology as it oughta be.' The book addresses issues on the theoretical and analytic cutting edges of the discipline, and do so with an appreciation for the intellectual history of gang research that shaped the contemporary framing of these questions. Professor Short's introductory essay in itself is worth the purchase price in this regard. This definitely is required reading for anyone with even a marginal interest in gang dynamics and their contexts.
Elijah Anderson
Jim Short and Lorine Hughes have assembled an important group of essays that underscore the rationale for studying urban gangs. Following in the great 'Chicago tradition' of Thrasher, Short and Strodtbeck, Suttles, and Horowitz, among others, these works make substantial contributions to our understanding, while emphasizing the importance of method and theory as we approach to this increasingly urgent urban phenomenon.
John Hagan
Short and Hughes' anthology reveals the breadth and depth of the now globalized research terrain of gang research, a field of work that is essential to our understanding of group processes and human behavior. Short and Hughes take us on a challenging and rewarding journey through the very best research in this intellectually vibrant and constantly changing field.
September 2009 Criminal Justice Review
A real strength of this book is its presentation of new and innovative research and its implications for future research on gangs. The authors challenge scholars to explore and incorporate innovative theoretical and methodological practices into their study of youth gangs. Using these new approaches will not only address some of the criticisms of gang research but will also assist in the accumulation of knowledge. This book represents a significant contribution to contemporary gang research and will be a useful resource for both students and researchers.
James C. Howell
This book contains an intriguing collection of new research on youth gangs. The field is privileged to receive a vintage Jim Short contribution. With new, seminal research on youth gangs, this book illuminates their structure and dynamics in far more richness than any other volume.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759109391
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 4/27/2006
  • Series: Violence Prevention and Policy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 0.77 (d)

Meet the Author

James F. Short, Jr., is professor emeritus of sociology at Washington State University. Lorine A. Hughes is assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Chapter 1: Why Study Gangs? An Intellectual Journey Chapter 3 Chapter 2: Are 'Gang' Studies Dangerous? Youth Violence, Local Context, and the Problem of Reification Chapter 4 Chapter 3: Studying Youth Gangs: The Importance of Context Chapter 5 Chapter 4: The Gang Facilitation Effect and Neighborhood Risk: Do Gangs Have a Stronger Influence on Delinquency in Disadvantaged Areas? Chapter 6 Chapter 5: Neighborhood Effects on Street Gang Behavior Chapter 7 Chapter 6: Youth Gang Social Dynamics and Social Network Analysis: Applying Degree Centrality Measures to Assess the Nature of Gang Boundaries Chapter 8 Chapter 7: Social Network Analysis and Gang Research: Theory and Methods Chapter 9 Chapter 8: A Public Health Model for Studying Youth Gangs Chapter 10 Chapter 9: The Value of Comparisons in Street Gang Research Chapter 11 Chapter 10: Hate Groups or Street Gangs? The Emergence of Racist Skinheads Chapter 12 Chapter 11: Youth Gang Research in Australia Chapter 13 Chapter 12: The Global Impact of Gangs Chapter 14 Chapter 13: Gang Membership and Community Corrections Populations: Characteristics and Recidivism Rates 'Relative' to Other Offenders Chapter 15 Chapter 14: The Comprehensive, Community-wide Gang Program Model: Success and Failure Chapter 16 Chpater 15: Moving Gange Research Forward Chapter 17 References

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