The Global Gang Thang
A World of Change: Armed Young Men and Gansta Culture (Globalization and Community)

Hagedorn, John
Publisher:  University of Minnesota Press
Year Published:  2008
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX8193

Hagedorn is one of the few preeminent scholars to investigate gang culture. He iterates that gangs are not unique to the United States but are found in all cultures. They occupy the "fourth world" characterized by joblessness, institutionalized racism and the unscrupulous capitalism of the drug economy. Poor youth develop strategies to survive. Gangs provide security, identity, employment and are socialized by the streets or prisons instead of conventional institutions such as families and schools. He contends that gangs will continue to grow and flourish as long as these negative conditions continue. He illustrates that gangs have the capability to transform themselves into community organizations and social movements but are met far too often by repression and cynicism by the ruling elites. He cites important events to illustrate this: in Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley (a former gang member himself) crushed the Vice Lord's attempt to form a political and community organization by his policing policy of "shoot first, ask questions later". In Los Angeles after the Rodney King riots the Bloods and Cripps called a truce and put forward a proposal to rebuild their communities. The proposal was ignored and they went back to their gang warfare. Hagedorn offers progressive alternatives to the dominant law and order approach and argues " we better figure out how to reduce the violence and encourage gangs and others in ghettos, barrios, favelas and townships to join movements for social change" or the gangs are not going to go away.

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