This book takes students on a guided tour of the gang phenomenon through history, as well as current representations of gangs in literature and media. It includes: - A detailed global overview of gang culture, covering, amongst others, Glasgow, Chicago, Hong Kong, and Shanghai - A chapter on researching gangs which covers quantitative and qualitative methods - Extra chapter features such as key terms, chapter overviews, study questions and further reading suggestions. Fraser brings together gang-literature and critical perspectives in a refreshingly new way, exploring ‘gangs’ as a social group with a long and fascinating history.

Defining Gangs

Defining Gangs


Chapter 1 provides:

  • An overview of the development of gang research, from the work of Frederic Thrasher and the Chicago School to contemporary research.
  • An outline of some of the different approaches to the study of gangs, covering constructionist, realist and critical approaches.
  • A critical overview of contemporary debates and faultlines in gang research, with attention to tensions between ‘global’ and ‘local’ approaches to gangs.
  • A summary of the content of the remaining chapters, including discussion of some of the central themes that will be explored.

Key Terms

  • Chicago School
  • Constructionism
  • Criminalisation
  • Critical criminology
  • Deviance
  • Ecological approach
  • Frederic Thrasher
  • Globalisation
  • Inequality
  • Peer-group
  • Politics
  • Power
  • Realism
  • Social control
  • Social pathology
  • Social problems
  • Subcultures
  • Urbanisation


At times, it might seem that we are surrounded ...

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