Gangs as Culture and Subculture Essay

Pages: 5 (2103 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 8  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sociology

If we do not know much about them, how can we effectively combat their dangerous activities? Esbensen et al. explicate as to why the lack of knowledge about gangs can be dangerous or detrimental:

For example, research on the extent and nature of the gang problem faces three possible outcomes: (1) accurately stating the gang problem with the best definition for the research question, (2) underestimating it with a far too narrow definition, or (3) overestimating it if the definition is too broad, capturing individuals, groups, and behavior that are of little interest to the intended audience. (Esbensen et al., 2001,-Page 106)

Defining and agreeing upon what a gang is central to intervention efficacy with the support of public policy.

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When dealing with gangs, a combination of strategies likely proves most effective. Every community and every gang situation is different; therefore, no static strategy will be 100% effective. If the violence is overwhelming, if the community suffers potentially irrevocable damage, then injunctions need to be in place. The gangs make take it as an act of war and increase their activities or perform other forms of retaliation. Gang members are people. Though it can be daunting and dangerous, intervention and prevention are the best ways to stop gang violence and the existence of gangs. We should be considerate of gang culture as a culture of people and take into consideration what kinds of issues they deal with if a peaceful compromise is ever to be reached. Such methods and considerations are taking place in countries such as Australia for example:

Essay on Gangs as Culture and Subculture Assignment

Regardless of the 'realities' and 'myths' surrounding youth gangs in Australia today, three intervention issues nevertheless stand out. First, the perceptions that youth gangs exist and are a danger to the community will almost inevitably generate action on the part of authorities, regardless of what is happening at the grassroots level. Secondly, analysis suggests that the political and economic conditions for potential growth in gang-related behaviour presently exist, and that action is required now in order to forestall future problems (White et al. 1999; White 2002). Thirdly, the discourses of 'gang' have largely been racialised in most places around Australia, with ethnic minority youth the main subjects of such public discourses (Collins et al. 2000; Poynting, Noble & Tabar 2001; White et al. 1999). These observations require that we be sensitive to the implicit and explicit social issues that inevitably accompany any consideration of police and community responses to gang-related behaviour. (White, 2004,-Page 1)

If we try to engage gangs on a human level, as some community leaders do, there is greater chance for peace, resolution, minimization of conflict, and cessation of violence. There are a number of programs that successfully get members to turn in their guns, stop dealing drugs, but still remain an active, supportive presence in the community.


Esbensen, F.A., Winfree, Jr., L.T., He, N., & Taylor, T.J. (2001). Youth Gangs and Definitional Issues: When is a Gang, and Why Does it Matter? Crime & Delinquency, 47(1), 105 -- 130.

Esperanza. (2010). Gangs 101 -- Understanding the Culture of Youth Violence. Esperanza: Philadelphia.

Hagedorn, J.M. (2005). The Global Impact of Gangs. Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice, 21(2), 153 -- 169.

Lerman, P. (1967). Gangs, Networks, and Subcultural Delinquency. The American Journal of Sociology, 73(1), 63 -- 72.

Malec, D. (2004). Transforming Latino Gang Violence in the United States. Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, 18, 81 -- 89.

No listed author. (nd) Chapter 1 -- Introduction to Gangs. Available from: 2012 August 09.

United States Department of Justice. (2006). Gangs.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Gangs as Culture and Subculture" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Gangs as Culture and Subculture.  (2012, August 11).  Retrieved April 5, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Gangs as Culture and Subculture."  11 August 2012.  Web.  5 April 2020. <>.

Chicago Style

"Gangs as Culture and Subculture."  August 11, 2012.  Accessed April 5, 2020.