Theorising gangs: towards a critical realist moral theory of youth gangs

Andell, Paul and James, David (2023) Theorising gangs: towards a critical realist moral theory of youth gangs. In: The Palgrave handbook of youth gangs in the UK. Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 21-40. ISBN 9783030996581

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This chapter, Theorising Gangs, Paul Andell and David James set out to answer a number of questions. If, for example, different groups of young people, involved in similar types of offending in different places, describe themselves differently, should we call them all ‘gangs’. And, can we accept that what the young people say about the gang, or indeed what the academics, police officers and social workers who investigate or work with gang members say, represents ‘the truth’ about gangs. Their answer to both questions is ‘yes but’. The ‘but’ says that while the accounts these young people and professionals give describe their day-to-day, ‘common-sense’ understandings of their world social, scientist must also investigate the unobservable social, economic and cultural structures and processes that account for the emergence, persistence and the distinctive characteristics of gangs and gang crime in particular settings. Having questioned whether our research into gangs and gang crime can ever be wholly ‘objective’, the authors suggest that such objectivity is probably unattainable because research, and the researchers, invariably bring a moral and empathetic dimension to their analyses.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: critical realism, gang definition, moral state and gangs
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Business & Applied Social Science > Department of Applied Social Sciences
Depositing User: David Upson-Dale
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2023 10:46
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2023 10:46

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