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World of Gangs: Armed Young Men and Gangsta Culture (Globalization & Community Series) [Hardcover]

Mike Davis , John M. Hagedorn

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 216 pages
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press (1 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816650667
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816650668
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 15 x 23.8 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,815,445 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Synopsis

Analyzing gang culture in Chicago in the United States, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, Capetown in South Africa, and elsewhere, Hagedorn (criminal justice, U. of Illinois) argues that gangs are but one form of alienated and angry groups that are a fundamental and long-term urban characteristic of the global era and that they can morph into ethnic militi

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the varied types of gangs around the world and their effects 11 Jun 2008
By Henry Berry - Published on Amazon.com
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. Not only are they a means to gain and exercise power, but they provide a ground for identity which is especially appealing to masses of persons not only in developed countries but in poor ones in this era of failed states, tribalism, and desire for material goods fueled by the success of the Western democracies and global marketing of consumer goods. Nonetheless, Hagedorn is not despairing of dealing with gang violence, drug trafficking, and other socially injurious aspects of gangs. Isolating the selflessness and solidarity of gang members, he sees gangs as basically manifesting as desire for a meaningful life in desperate, practically completely hopeless circumstances. In Hagedorn's view, gangs are also means of resistance against the depredations being committed against the ethnic, social, regional, etc., groups which their members come from. The author sees the ambivalences of the music, celebrities, vitality, and status of hip-hop culture in particular as the prime indication of the ambivalences, but also the promise of the characteristics of gangs.

This is an eye-opening account of a major international phenomena which will give one a new conception of gangs; as when Hagedorn refers to certain groups as "voting gangs" and describes their activities in getting and maintaining political power. Not only do the author's accounts of gangs from around the world, the conditions out of which they emerge, and their activities conduce to a new perspective, but he also puts forth new principles for an intellectual comprehension of gangs. Hagedorn puts aside the conventional sociological, structural, comprehension of gangs as alternatives, or outsiders, to ordinary society, and the related criminal-justice analysis of gangs seeing them as a crime problem to be resolved in favor of a "cultural" point of view seeking to comprehend gangs as phenomena of particular social conditions and as aberrant, in many cases wretched, manifestations of common social qualities, purposes, and aims.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The Essence of Gangs, Significance & Origins" 24 Sep 2008
By Russell A. Rohde MD - Published on Amazon.com
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. Specific details are provided on the Black Panther Party, AIG, BGD, the ALKQN, CLV, LSD, and SACs (HAA). Also, the author clarifies the essence of hip-hop and of gangsta rap and the need to understand certain cultures via their music to garner their outrage, directionless rage and urgency.

Unfortunately, the author seemingly advocates the alleviation of gang problems via socialistic means and appears to be excessively lenient with the Mara Salvatrucha/MS-13 - stating they are an American creation having fled to the US and are now trapped in barrios and merely doing what poor kids everywhere do and after getting into trouble are deported by U.S. immigration Service which the author feels is a violation of their basic human right to have a life free of terror and resist deportation.

Nonetheless, the book, taking pot shots at various elected officials for their strict on crime policies and attitudes, has a lot to offer - and Hagedorn argues for the need to provide recreation, education, jobs, and cultural programs more than prisons. The author embeds a dour note stating "the future of the world will be determined on the streets of our cities", that to me is a veiled threat to get our attention; and he concludes that he can only say `De mortuis nil nisi bonum,' something echoing from the Ivory Tower.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars World of Gangs 14 Sep 2009
By Brian S. Koontz - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book. Could not hardly put it down and have read several parts more than once.
0 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I don't know 26 Oct 2013
By Eric - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
We were supposed to order this for class. I don't know why because we never used it or were assigned any readings from it. I couldn't tell you if it was useful or not.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect!!!! Seller is reliable, and the book came to us very fast. Recommended! 6 Aug 2010
By Ana Paula Podcameni - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The seller was accurate in his description and very fast in the shipping! Wonderful experience!
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