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Urban LegendsGang Identity in the Post-Industrial City$
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Alistair Fraser

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198728610

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728610.001.0001

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Shifting Definitions

Shifting Definitions

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 Shifting Definitions
Source:
Urban Legends
Author(s):

Alistair Fraser

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198728610.003.0002

Chapter 1 elaborates the divergent trajectories of gangs in the US, England, and Scotland. The chapter identifies and analyses four clear shifts in gang research and response—street to database, subcultures to crime, local to global, ethnography to dataset—that cohere in the development of an imagination of a ‘global gang’ phenomenon that is ripe for media scaremongering and political entrepreneurialism. These shifts are representative of a broader set of changes in the academic field, wherein grounded ethnographic accounts are increasingly marginalized. The chapter draws attention, crucially, to a developing seam of critical research that acts as counter-current to these increasingly homogenizing forces, making the case for a coherent theoretical and methodological agenda for advancing sociological knowledge of gangs in the UK and beyond.

Keywords:   gangs, globalization, street culture, critical gang studies, history and politics of gang research

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