Urban Legends
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Urban Legends : Gang Identity in the Post-Industrial City

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Description

As the youth gang phenomenon becomes an important and sensitive public issue, communities from Los Angeles to Rio, Cape Town to London are facing the reality of what such violent groups mean for their children and young people. Complex dangers and instabilities, as well as high levels of public fear and anger, fuel an amplification of anxious public and political rhetoric in relation to gangs, in which the stereotype of the American street-gang - a ruthless,
hierarchical, street-based criminal organisation capable of corrupting youth and fracturing communities - looms large.

Set against this backdrop, Urban Legends: Gang Identity in the Post-Industrial City tells a unique and powerful story of young people, gang identity, and social change in post-industrial Glasgow, challenging the perceptions of gangs as a novel, universal, or pathological phenomenon. Though territorial gangs have been reported in Glasgow for over a century, with striking continuities over this time, there are similarities with street-based groups elsewhere. Using this similarity as the
foundation, the book goes on to argue that Glaswegian gangs have a specific historical trajectory that is particular to the city. Drawing on four years of varied ethnographic fieldwork in Langview, a deindustrialised working-class community, the book spotlights the everyday experiences and understandings of
gangs for young people growing up in the area, reasoning that - for some - gang identification represents a root of identity and a route to masculinity, in a post-industrial city that has little space for them.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 304 pages
  • 147 x 222 x 24mm | 490g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198728611
  • 9780198728610
  • 1,138,340

Table of contents

1. Introduction ; 2. Shifting Definitions ; 3. A Global Sociological Imagination ; 4. City as Lens ; 5. Best Laid Schemes ; 6. Street Habitus ; 7. Redundant Hardmen ; 8. Learning to Leisure ; 9. Generations of Gangs ; 10. Conclusion
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Review Text

Urban Legends...can compete with all the classic works. Fraser's book is a fresh start for European street ethnography. We can only hope that more will follow. I recommend it to those interested in Bourdieu, Glasgow, gangs, youth delinquency, post-industrialism, or just anyone interested in a reading a really good ethnography. Sveinung Sandberg, British Journal of Criminology
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Review quote

Fraser impressively situates his meticulous ethnographic research within historical and theoretical contexts. Urban Legends makes a profoundly important contribution to the international 'gang' literature. Sociological criminology at its very best. * Professor Barry Goldson, Charles Booth Chair of Social Science, Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, The University of Liverpool. * The book has profound methodological and theoretical implications to the study of youth gangs in a global context. Understanding gangs from a global and comparative perspective is not an easy task because of the difficulty of data collection, but Alistair Fraser, a young and brilliant criminologist, has made an especially significant contribution to the study. * Peng Wang, Global Crime * We commend this book as making a significant contribution to the field of criminology, and also to the study of the history and sociology of the city. It is a book to be most warmly welcomed. * Professor Tim Newburn and Professor Jill Peay, London School of Economics (from the Foreword) * Urban Legends is a groundbreaking work transcending classic theory and sharply departing from Eurogang positivism. Fraser applies Bourdieus habitus and other concepts to give us new and powerful theoretical tools with which to understand gangs in the global era. The most insightful study of Glasgow gangs ever written. * John Hagedorn, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Illinois at Chicago * Urban Legends...can compete with all the classic works. Fraser's book is a fresh start for European street ethnography. We can only hope that more will follow. I recommend it to those interested in Bourdieu, Glasgow, gangs, youth delinquency, post-industrialism, or just anyone interested in a reading a really good ethnography. * Sveinung Sandberg, British Journal of Criminology *
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About Alistair Fraser

Alistair Fraser is Lecturer in Criminology and Sociology, University of Glasgow, where he is also Associate Director (Internationalisation) of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research and Convenor of Postgraduate Criminology. He holds an MSc in Criminology from the University of Oxford, and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Glasgow. His research centres on issues of youth, crime and globalisation, with a particular focus on youth gangs. He has
carried out fieldwork in Glasgow, Chicago and Hong Kong.
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