Routledge International Handbook of Critical Gang Studies is rooted in the instability, inequality and liquidity of the post-industrial era. It understands the gang as a complex and contradictory phenomenon; a socio-historical agent that reflects, responds to and creates a certain structured environment in spaces which are always in flux. International in scope and drawing on a range of sociological, criminological and anthropological traditions, it looks beyond pathological, ahistorical and non-transformative approaches, and considers other important factors that produce the phenomenon, whether the historically entrenched racialized power structure and segregation in Chicago; the unconstrained state-abandoned development of favelas in Brazil; or the colonization, displacement and dependency of people in Central America. This handbook reflects and defines the new theoretical and empirical traditions of critical gang studies. It offers a variety of perspectives, including:

  • A view of gangs that takes into consideration the global context and appearance of the "gang" in its various forms and stages of development;
  • An appreciation of the gang as a socio-cultural formation;
  • A race-ethnic and class analysis of the gang that problematizes domain assumptions such as the "underclass";
  • Gender variations of the gang phenomenon with a particular emphasis on their intersectional properties;
  • Relations between gangs and the political economy that address the dominant mode of production and exchange;
  • Treatments that demonstrate the historically contingent nature of gangs and their changes across time;
  • The contradictory impact of gang repressive policies, institutions and practices as part of a broader discussion on the nature of the state in specific societies; and
  • Critical methodologies on gangs that involve discussions of visual and textual representations and the problematics of data collection and analysis.

Authoritative, multi-disciplinary and international, this book will be of interest to criminologists, sociologists and anthropologists alike, particularly those engaged with critical criminology/sociology, youth crime, delinquency and global social inequality. The Handbook will also be of interest to policy makers and those in the peacebuilding field.

part I|107 pages

Critical theories of the gang

chapter 1|13 pages

Utilizing Southern criminology in the global North

Applying Southern criminology to over-standings of English gang research

chapter 2|13 pages

States of emergency

Gangs, Benjamin, and the challenge to modern sovereignty

chapter 4|13 pages

The gang as secret society

chapter 5|16 pages

On being affected

Love, law and submission among gangsters

chapter 6|15 pages

The Catholic Church and the gangs

Toward a liberationist critique of gang violence

chapter 7|19 pages

Gangs, space and the state

Bringing Henri Lefebvre’s spatial theory to critical gang studies 1

part II|85 pages

Critical methodologies

chapter 8|11 pages

Cultural criminology and gangs

Street elitism and politics in late modernity

chapter 9|16 pages

Interviewing gang members

A note on research design

chapter 10|15 pages

New standards for social practice ethics?

Researching processes of gang exit with former gang members

chapter 11|11 pages

Filming (with) gangs

An essay on visual sociology in Barcelona

part III|74 pages

Policies and repressive models

chapter 15|15 pages

Gangs and the garrison state

(In)security politics and democracy in Latin America

chapter 16|18 pages

Misguided strategy

New York City’s decision to criminalize gangs

chapter 17|14 pages

Off the books and off the blocks

The dual economic marginalization of black gang members in Chicago

part IV|233 pages

Global case studies

chapter 19|13 pages

The war on gangs and gangsters

The Latino/a experience with settler colonialism

chapter 21|18 pages

Transnationalism and postnational identities

The three lives of a Latin King

chapter 22|12 pages

Race and youth gangs in France

Denial, ambiguity, and recognition

chapter 23|12 pages

Performing “gang-ness”

The transformative “realness” of gang violence in the Netherlands

chapter 24|11 pages

Stuck in between

A former marero in the “European capital” of Salvadoran gangs

chapter 26|12 pages

Reimagining the landscape of gangs

Reflections from Bangladesh and China

chapter 28|13 pages

The fourth corner of the triangle

Gang transnationalism, fragmentation and evolution in Belize City

chapter 29|13 pages

Gang governance in the tropics

The political economy of violence and social order in contemporary Nicaragua

chapter 30|14 pages

Understanding the dynamics and functions of gang violence

The case of El Salvador

chapter 33|16 pages

The legalization of the Latin Kings in Ecuador

The two hands of the state, from the production of marginalization to policies of inclusion

chapter 35|16 pages

Gangs in the post-Chávez Bolivarian revolution

How mano dura policies and political pacts have organized crime in Venezuela 1

chapter 36|13 pages

Gangs in Kenya

Work, manhood and security

part V|98 pages

Culture and the gang

chapter 38|19 pages

“They treat us like criminals in front of our kids”

Gang-affiliated Chicanas and trails of violence in the barrio

chapter 39|19 pages

“The city got my back so the city on my back”

Prisoner’s negation of the states’ claims of prisoner’s humanity

chapter 41|15 pages

California placaso 1

The social construction of Chicanx 2 gang graffiti

chapter 42|19 pages

“Gangbangers are gangbangers, hustlers are hustlers”

The rap game, social media, and gang violence in Toronto

part VI|64 pages

Contexts and spaces

chapter 43|21 pages

Prison gangs in the Northern Triangle

The critical contribution of prison studies to the theory of gangs

chapter 44|9 pages

Doxa is dangerous

How academic doxa inhibits prison gang research

chapter 45|14 pages

Prison gangs

Rise, resistance, and reentry

part VII|41 pages

Critical appraisals of major figures in gang research

chapter 47|11 pages

Dwight Conquergood

An appreciation of his intellectual life and contribution to critical gang studies

chapter 48|13 pages

The legacy of Joan Moore

A revolution in gang research

chapter 49|15 pages

The legacy of James Diego Vigil

Rebelde con causa