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Global Gangs

Street Violence across the World

2014

Jennifer M. Hazen and Dennis Rodgers, Editors
Afterword by Sudhir Venkatesh

Global Gangs

Understanding the evolution and organization of street gangs around the world

Global Gangs offers a greater understanding of gangs through essays that investigate gangs spanning across nations, from Brazil to Indonesia, China to Kenya, and from El Salvador to Russia. The volume editors bring together contributors who examine gangs from a comparative perspective, providing a comprehensive look into the experience of gangs across the world and challenging conventional notions of identity.

This volume must be appreciated not simply for the breadth of cases that it features but also for the collective work of its authors in refashioning a century of theory that relegated the gang to oddball status.

Sudhir Venkatesh, from the Afterword

Gangs, often associated with brutality and senseless destructive violence, have not always been viewed as inherently antagonistic. The first studies of gangs depicted them as alternative sources of order in urban slums where the state’s authority was lacking, and they have subsequently been shown to be important elements in some youth life cycles. Despite their proliferation there is little consensus regarding what constitutes a gang. Used to denote phenomena ranging from organized crime syndicates to groups of youths who gather spontaneously on street corners, even the term “gang” is ambiguous.

Global Gangs offers a greater understanding of gangs through essays that investigate gangs spanning across nations, from Brazil to Indonesia, China to Kenya, and from El Salvador to Russia. Volume editors Jennifer M. Hazen and Dennis Rodgers bring together contributors who examine gangs from a comparative perspective, discussing such topics as the role the apartheid regime in South Africa played in the emergence of gangs, the politics behind child vigilante squads in India, the relationship between immigration and gangs in France and the United States, and the complex stigmatization of youths in Mexico caused by the arbitrary deployment of the word “gang.”

Featuring an afterword by renowned U.S. gang researcher Sudhir Venkatesh, Global Gangs provides a comprehensive look into the experience of gangs across the world and in doing so challenges conventional notions of identity.

Contributors: Enrique Desmond Arias, George Mason U; José Miguel Cruz, Florida International U; Steffen Jensen, DIGNITY–Danish Institute Against Torture; Gareth A. Jones, London School of Economics and Political Science; Marwan Mohammed, École Normale Supérieure, Paris; Jacob Rasmussen, Roskilde U; Loren Ryter, U of Michigan; Rustem R. Safin, National Research Technological U, Russia; Alexander L. Salagaev, National Research Technological U, Russia; Atreyee Sen, U of Manchester; Mats Utas, Nordic Africa Institute; James Diego Vigil, U of California, Irvine; Lening Zhang, Saint Francis U.

Global Gangs

Jennifer M. Hazen is a political scientist who has worked with International Crisis Group, the United Nations, the Small Arms Survey, and BAE Systems in support of U.S. Africa Command.

Dennis Rodgers is professor of urban social and political research in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow.

Sudhir Venkatesh is Williams B. Ransford Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and the author of, among several books, Gang Leader for a Day.

Global Gangs

This volume must be appreciated not simply for the breadth of cases that it features but also for the collective work of its authors in refashioning a century of theory that relegated the gang to oddball status.

Sudhir Venkatesh, from the Afterword

A thought-provoking commentary on an often-misrepresented phenomenon.

Shepherd Express

An excellent reference volume for anyone interested in understanding youth gangs from a global perspective.

H-Net

Highly authoritative and very timely.

Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books

The book’s comparative breadth and insightful thematic focus on gangs’ dynamism and variety make it an indispensable starting point for such inquiries, and a valuable tool for those seeking to understand the young protagonists of urban violence around the world.

City

The volume is interesting, insightful, and innovative; and overall, a welcome addition to the relatively scant critical literature on gangs in a global context.

British Journal of Criminology

Global Gangs

Contents

Acknowledgments

Introduction: Gangs in a Global Comparative Perspective
Dennis Rodgers and Jennifer M. Hazen

Part I. Gang Formation and Transformation
1. Intimate Connections: Gangs and the Political Economy of Urbanization in South Africa
Steffen Jensen
2. Cholo! The Migratory Origins of Chicano Gangs in Los Angeles
James Diego Vigil
3. Capitalizing on Change: Gangs, Ideology, and the Transition to a Liberal Economy in the Russian Federation
Alexander Salagaev and Rustem Safin
4. Of Marginality and “Little Emperors”: The Changing Reality of Chinese Youth Gangs
Lening Zhang
5. From Black Jackets to Zulus: Social Imagination, Myth, and Reality Concerning French Gangs
Marwan Mohammed
6. Maras and the Politics of Violence in El Salvador
José Miguel Cruz

Part II. Problematizing Gangs
7. Youth Gangs and Otherwise in Indonesia
Loren Ryter
8. “Playing the Game”: Gang/Militia Logics in War-Torn Sierra Leone
Mats Utas
9. “For Your Safety”: Child Vigilante Squads and Neo-Gangsterism in Urban India
Atreyee Sen
10. “We Are the True Blood of the Mau Mau”: The Mungiki Movement in Kenya
Jacob Rasmussen
11. Gang Politics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Enrique Desmond Arias
12. “Hecho en Mexico”: Gangs, Identities, and the Politics of Public Security
Gareth A. Jones

Afterword: The Inevitable Gang
Sudhir Venkatesh
Contributors
Index