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How Gangs Work: An Ethnography of Youth Violence (St Antony's) 2013th Edition

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-1137271501
ISBN-10: 1137271507
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Editorial Reviews


"In many ways, this work is overdue in terms of its contribution to the United Kingdom gang agenda. It signals a shift away from the frequently ideological rhetoric of United Kingdom academics over the last few years which has too often distracted United Kingdom gang scholars and it moves us back to critical ethnography and first-class fieldwork. In so doing, it extends our understanding of the relationships operating within the gang and offers a well-crafted and highly readable interpretation of their street world." - Simon Harding, British Journal of Criminology

"How Gangs Work is a much needed volume in the study of gangs and youth culture. James Densley builds on months of in-depth fieldwork to describe gangs and gang members in London. He provides both a framework for understanding gang members, as well as a solid series of steps for changing their lives and helping them exit their gang. The book is a must read for those who would understand the lives of young people in large cities, in London and elsewhere." - Scott H. Decker, Arizona State University, USA

"James Densley's book greatly improves our understanding of how juvenile gangs send signals to their larger world, as well as to their own participants. The signalling process is not merely a curiosity: it is at the very core of a gang's 'service' to members and the fears it creates. The idea of the gang is in many ways more important than its behavior. Densley offers a clearer description and deeper understanding of how gangs signal and hence how they work."- Marcus Felson, Texas State University, USA

"James Densley writes with a great sense of humor and superb style. But make no mistake this is a difficult, dangerous subject and Densely is a tough young researcher who has risked much to bring you an insightful and in-depth look at street gangs. Not to be missed." - Declan Hill, journalist and bestselling author of The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime

"This readable and provocative book nicely captures the nuances, complexities, and ambiguities of youth gangs in London. Featuring the voices of young people themselves telling their own stories it provides important and fascinating insights into the nature of street life and community relations in contemporary Britain. Highly recommended." - Rob White, University of Tasmania, Australia

About the Author

Dr. James A. Densley is an Assistant Professor in the School of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University, Minnesota, USA. Densley is Trustee and Director of Growing Against Gangs and Violence, an educational partnership with London's Metropolitan Police Service. He is a graduate of St. Antony's College, University of Oxford, UK, and a former New York City Teaching Fellow.

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Product Details

  • Series: St Antony's
  • Hardcover: 213 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 2013 edition (April 11, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1137271507
  • ISBN-13: 978-1137271501
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,954,126 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

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Dr. Densleys’ fieldwork demystifies gang life. The book covers tremendous ground- examining topics from recruitment practices, to gang organization, to pathways of leaving gang life.

What makes this text truly remarkable and unique are the quotable comments from the actual gang members or associates themselves. Whether a student or scholar, if you want to learn firsthand ‘how a gang member thinks’ this is the book for you.
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