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Social Correlates and Delinquency

Social Correlates and Delinquency

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Social Correlates and Delinquency

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  1. Social Correlates and Delinquency Juvenile Gangs

  2. History of Gangs in America • American society has a long history of violent gang activity • Boston Tea Party! • Vigilante groups on the frontier • Rioting farmers • Racial riots • “Youth” gangs also have a long history, though not always equated with delinquency

  3. Defining “Gang” • Problem with lack of consistent definition • Erikson and Jensen’s implied definition: • 2 or more youth engaged in delinquent behavior • Walter Miller’s extended definition • Conducted interviews with 445 staff members in over 160 youth service agencies in 24 major cities • Asked them, “What is your conception of a gang?” • On bases of these responses, developed definition and list of key characteristics (see next slide)

  4. Miller’s Characteristics and Definition of a Gang • Characteristics: • Organization • Identifiable leadership • Identification with a territory • Continuous association • Specific purpose • Engaging in illegal activity • Definition (incorporating above): “A youth gang is a self-formed association of peers bound together by mutual interests, with identifiable leadership, well developed lines of authority, and other organizational features, who act in concert to achieve a specific purpose or purposes which generally include the conduct of illegal activity and control over a particular territory, facility, or type of enterprise.”

  5. Types of Gangs • Gangs can be categorized on several dimensions: • Social Class (e.g., lower class vs. middle class gangs) • Type of activity: • Cloward and Ohlin’s Typology • Criminal gangs • Conflict gangs • Retreatist gangs • Jeffrey Fagan’s Typology • Social Gangs (alcohol and drugs) • Party Gangs (heavy drug use, some vandalism) • Serious Delinquent Gangs (serious delinquency; avoids drug use) • Ethnic composition • Type of organization (see next slide)

  6. Lewis Yablonsky’s Typology • Yablonsky identified 3 types of gangs, based on the sophistication of their organization • Institutionalized Gang • Usually very large gangs which have become intricately involved in their communities • Often entail a “federation” of several local gangs • Examples include Black P. Stone Nation, Vice Lords and possibly Crips, and Bloods • Organized Club • Organized around delinquency, but do not have the scale or organization of institutionalized gangs • Near Group (see next page)

  7. Yablonsky’s “Near Group” • According to Yablonsky, the “near group” is the most common type of gang • 7 characteristics of near groups: • Diffuse role orientation • Limited cohesion • Impermanence • Minimal consensus of norms • Shifting membership • Disturbed leadership • Limited definition of membership expectation • 3 levels of membership • Leaders • Affiliators • Peripheral Members

  8. Non-Sociological Theories of Gang Formation • Early theories--that there was a natural propensity toward gang formation among boys • Anthropological view--gangs fulfill deep-seated needs for tribal group process such as that which sustained our ancestors over the millenia • Psychological view--gangs serve as an outlet for psychologically diseased youth • Rational choice view--gangs provide opportunities to realize goals. Such goals include financial gain, protection, and social support.

  9. Sociological Theories of Gang Formation • Frederick Thrasher--gangs arise out of spontaneous play groups • Tannenbaum--gangs fill a need for primary group involvement • Review general theories of Cloward and Ohlin, Cohen, Shaw and McKay

  10. Extensiveness of Gangs Extensiveness of Gangs

  11. Extent of Gang Delinquency • Erikson and Jensen study • Miller Study