Drawing on extensive interviews with gang members, this book provides a vivid portrayal of gang life. Topics include the profiles and motivations of gang members; the processes of gang evolution, organization, and recruitment; gang members' uses of violence, media, and technology and the role of gangs in the drugs trade and organized crime
"In many ways, this work is overdue in terms of its contribution to the United Kingdom gang agenda. It signals a shift away from the frequently ideological rhetoric of United Kingdom academics over the last few years which has too often distracted United Kingdom gang scholars and it moves us back to critical ethnography and first-class fieldwork. In so doing, it extends our understanding of the relationships operating within the gang and offers a well-crafted and highly readable interpretation of their street world." - Simon Harding, British Journal of Criminology
"How Gangs Work is a much needed volume in the study of gangs and youth culture. James Densley builds on months of in-depth fieldwork to describe gangs and gang members in London. He provides both a framework for understanding gang members, as well as a solid series of steps for changing their lives and helping them exit their gang. The book is a must read for those who would understand the lives of young people in large cities, in London and elsewhere." - Scott H. Decker, Arizona State University, USA
"James Densley's book greatly improves our understanding of how juvenile gangs send signals to their larger world, as well as to their own participants. The signalling process is not merely a curiosity: it is at the very core of a gang's 'service' to members and the fears it creates. The idea of the gang is in many ways more important than its behavior. Densley offers a clearer description and deeper understanding of how gangs signal and hence how they work."- Marcus Felson, Texas State University, USA
"James Densley writes with a great sense of humor and superb style. But make no mistake this is a difficult, dangerous subject and Densely is a tough young researcher who has risked much to bring you an insightful and in-depth look at street gangs. Not to be missed." - Declan Hill, journalist and bestselling author of The Fix: Soccer and Organized Crime
"This readable and provocative book nicely captures the nuances, complexities, and ambiguities of youth gangs in London. Featuring the voices of young people themselves telling their own stories it provides important and fascinating insights into the nature of street life and community relations in contemporary Britain. Highly recommended." - Rob White, University of Tasmania, Australia
About the Author:
James A. Densley is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University, USA, a member of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and an Associate Member of the Extra-Legal Governance Institute at the University of Oxford, UK. He received the National Gang Crime Research Center Frederick Milton Thrasher Award for Superior Accomplishments in Gang Research in 2013.