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A World of Gangs: Armed Young Men and Gangsta Culture (Globalization and Community) Paperback – June 12, 2009

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hagedorn (People and Folks), a scholar of gangland culture for more than 20 years, contends that gangs have existed since the Roman Republic and will continue to thrive as long as globalization continues to create untenable situations for the urban poor. Hagedorn surveys street gangs from Mumbai, Paris, L.A., Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town and 15th-century Florence, examining the role race and ethnicity play in gang formation (the white Gaylords of Chicago, the Latin Kings) and how the gang itself can be regarded as an alternative social institution, providing protection and economic opportunities for neglected populations. Hagedorn's description of gangs as institutionalized living organisms explains why they are so difficult to eradicate. Although Hagedorn is an undeniable authority on the topic and has logged plenty of face time with gang members, his work relies rather heavily on analyzing academic studies as opposed to providing in-depth descriptions of his own firsthand observations. His focus on old school gangsta rap also reveals a slight disconnect from his youthful subjects, as he refers to passé artists such as Cypress Hill as popular modern-day performers. While Hagedorn has produced a well-organized, well-researched and sensitive study, readers hungry for more ethnographic accounts should turn to Sudhir Venkatesh's Gang Leader for a Day. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

John M. Hagedorn is associate professor of criminal justice and senior research fellow at Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois, Chicago. He is editor of Gangs in the Global City; co-editor of Female Gangs in America: Essays on Girls, Gangs, and Gender; and author of the highly influential People and Folks: Gangs, Crime, and the Underclass in a Rustbelt City.

MacArthur fellow Mike Davis is professor of history at the University of California, Irvine. He is the author of many books, including Planet of Slums, City of Quartz, and Ecology of Fear.
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Product Details

  • Series: Globalization and Community (Book 14)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press (June 12, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816650675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816650675
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #905,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Henry Berry on June 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"Hagedorn argues that the global gang is part of the continuum of crime and revolt that defines the new horizon of geopolitics in the twenty-first century," writes Davis in his Foreword. Multifarious gangs have formed in the environment of globalization to "mirror the inhuman ambitions and greed of society's trendsetters and deities." In this view, gangs are the underside of the era's unchecked, ungoverned free-market economics Davis calls "savage capitalism" and social trends creating a gulf between the better-offs and the have-nots.

The work is about the worldwide phenomenon of "gangs compris[ing] flexible forms of armed groups, some changing from gang to militia to criminal syndicate to political party, or some existing as all types of simultaneously." One hears about such groups--which often are not termed gangs--daily in the media. Absorbing Hagedorn's view--enlightening in many ways--one sees that gangs in one form or another and by one name or another are responsible for most of the headline news, particularly on international affairs. Among the multifarious types of gangs Hagedorn treats are ones involved in politics in some American cities such as Chicago and New York either from strategies of respective mayors or designs or alliances of particular gangs themselves. The author expands on this to denote how different social or political policies can actually strengthen gangs or create conditions for the growth of new ones.

Gangs are a social reality that is virtually impossible to root out.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"A World of Gangs: Armed Young Men and Gangsta Culture", by John M. Hagedorn, Univ. Minnesota Press, MN 2008. ISBN 978-0-8166-5066-8, (HC) 198/143 pgs. 9 Chapters, Foreword(Mike Davis) 7 pgs., Intro. 12 pgs., Notes 36 pgs., Index 18 pgs. 9 1/4" x 6 1/4". Inveiglements are limited to "A Rose in the Cracks of Concrete" (a short one stanza poem), Chicago district map, 2 B&W ghetto photos.

Author is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Univ. Ill. & is previously published on the subject of gangs. This is a scholarly article, well researched, indexed and abundantly referenced on the broad subject of gangs, internationally, but with especial reference to those in Chicago, Rio de Janeiro and Capetown. The author explores the origin of gangs - how they evolved, becoming institutionalized gangs, Community-based, & then de-industrialized with Globalization and depression providing a worsening of economy wherein there is an ever-increasing loss of jobs and economic opportunities not helped by the current "Information Age". The author documents his observations with descriptions of the earliest Irish gangs in America (Chicago, New York, etc.) that formed strong political alliances with City mayors, Police Departments, etc. and eventually controlled cities and politics.

Throughout this work the author's theme is that gang's very existence arises largely on a racial basis (hence permanent) and only secondarily to other issues such as poverty. The author claims gangs are a reaction that includes anger and outrage to a cultural class struggle for personal edification or recognition, a home or turf, and economic survivability via jobs and wages - a reaction to social exclusionism or alienation.
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I enjoyed the book. Could not hardly put it down and have read several parts more than once.
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