chapter  Ten
12 Pages

Projective processes: gangs, bullying, and racism

WithBiddy Youell, Hamish Canham

When does a group become a gang? Hamish Canham (2002) defines a gang mentality as one in which destructive forces has taken over. In gang behaviour, the reign of terror is directed towards other groups. A gang is anti-thought, anti-parents, and anti-life. The leader of the gang works hard to make sure that everybody knows it would be dangerous to leave— a clear projection of his own knowledge that he would be in danger without them. In terms of child development and early experience, the lamentable internal situation of the hardened bully or gang member may come about in a number of ways. Hamish Canham (2002) draws attention to the kinds of experiences that, in his view, may create the “gang state of mind”. The onset of puberty, with all the associated physical, psychological, and emotional changes, could so easily throw him back into identification with a gang leader.