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A Glasgow Gang Observed Paperback – 1 Apr 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Neil Wilson Publishing; 3rd Revised edition edition (1 April 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906000387
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906000387
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

Revealing insight into the parallel world of gangs James Patrick wrote his book in the late 1960s but so much of it seems to speak to today and our growing worries about gang violence. In his book there is a map of Glasgow's gang territories. A similar one exists today. The territories sit neatly within the poorest areas. Patrick is a pseudonym chosen by the author who was, when he researched the book, a teacher in an approved school. He befriended a pupil called Tim and, with the boy's connivance, accompanied him on his weekends out and joined the young man's gang. Tim was effortlessly well-behaved throughout the week at school. He was just above average intelligence and likeable. In deciding to open his teacher's eyes to gang life, he understood the risks far more clearly than the author did. Initially, Patrick found himself accepted into a loose association of youngsters who spent their days hanging around street corners and their evenings in pubs and dance halls. Most of the time they told stories, or stared into space. Then, in a finger snap, violence could erupt. On his first evening, a man accidentally brushed against a gang member in the pub. He was bashed over the head with a glass bottle. He and his mate were then dragged to the floor where they were jumped on and kicked in the head. On this, as on all occasions, all gang members joined in. I was reminded of a pride of lions or pack of wild dogs, springing into action at the prospect of a threat or a kill. The boys, for that's all they were, would send out challenges to enemy gangs and, mob-handed, do battle, fuelled by fear and aggression. Once the fight started they expected no mercy and gave none. Tim, so temperate throughout the week, demonstrated his leadership skills with hammer, club or blade. In a matter of weeks the situation had become too hot for Patrick to handle but, during his time with the gang, he gleaned valuable information. Tim, for example, inherited his role from older brothers who had gone on to greater violence and were thus feared and respected. His father encouraged his participation and his mother ignored it. The gang offered Tim, and his contemporaries, a life. Outside it they were poor, uneducated nobodies. In the gang they had station and respect. Approved school, borstal and prison were regarded as unfortunate side-effects. I might have put A Glasgow Gang Observed back on the bookshelf in the history section - for some of the gangs mentioned date back to the 1880s. However, a series of articles in the Evening Times in 2006 convinced me little had changed. Reporter David Leask witnessed gang warfare and discovered the gangs made appointments to fight. Weapons included golf clubs, metal poles, razors and knives. And gang membership still restricts its members to their own territory. When Leask told an unemployed Ruchazie youth there were jobs at Glasgow Fort, the boy looked horrified. He said: 'I would have to get a number 38 bus and that goes through Garthamlock. There is no way I'm going to risk my life like that.' However, to those growing up in these areas, the advantages of gang membership outweigh the disadvantages. In fact, for the youth who is growing up without a stable family or much education, arguably it is an intelligent decision. It offers protection, companionship, acceptance, status, a peer group and purpose. That is what our side of the parallel universe has to understand. That is what we have to counter. Colette Douglas Home, The Herald, 4 Sept 2007 --http://www.heraldscotland.com/revealing-insight-into-the-parallel-world-of-gangs-1.864507

About the Author

James Patrick is the 1966 alias of a 26-year-old schoolteacher in a List D Scottish Reformatory School. His current whereabouts are unknown.


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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Beware! This is a book of two halves. The first is a description of James Patrick's ethnographic study of a violent adolescent gang in 1960s Glasgow. It's probably too sensationalist for serious sociology scholars, but as a former (part-time) denizen of Maryhill in those times I can testify to the authenticity. The second part is presumably the MA thesis Patrick set out to research through his study. It's well written, erudite, extensively referenced and 40 years out of date, looking at an illness-based treatment approach to disorder. One thing Patrick does well is to honestly discuss the problems of a participant observer studying deviant behaviour.

Overall, it's best to treat this a very readable historical account rather than a sociology text for current students. Glasgow residents, current and past, will enjoy the honest description of their city as it was - and it's a bit of a cure for the "in my day you didn't have to lock your door" brigade.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a superb sociological study and great for A'Level students to read. It's nicely written and easy to follow. It describes Patrick's experiences with a teenage gang. It explains how he had the opportunity to participate with this gang and the array of problems that he experienced. It's superb for developing a greater understanding of methodology. I have encouraged all of my A'level students to read it. Many have and it has greatly increased their understanding of sociological methodology. I would highly recommend this book to any kind of reader. It is eye opening and still holds great relevance for today.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was delighted to see that this book had been reprinted having first read it in 1973. James Patrick writes a clear and stark picture on the life of teenagers growing up in Glasgow's housing schemes of the mid sixties, and while the book contains descriptions of extreme violence and sexual activity, Patrick always manages not to sensationalise this aspect of the gang members life. The book contains a large section of his research into other gangs and juvenile deliquency from other parts of the world.

The description of the fashions the boys in the gang wear, is fascinating and this alone makes this book a must read for any aspiring mod.

A great read ......Tongs Ya Bass!
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A quite unique and thorough piece, hugely informative on an era that has definitely gone for ever but still has parallels and lessons for today. Much more important and reliable than the usual sensationalist rubbish that gets written on Glasgow gangs.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Was recommended to me as I was raised in the Gorbals about the period this was written about. I found it very repetitive and a bit boring to read. Not what I expected. I'm sure there are better accounts of life in those days around
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