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Youth Gangs in International Perspective

by Finn-Aage Esbensen Cheryl L. Maxson

As a steady source of juvenile delinquents and an incubator for future adult offenders, the youth gang has long been a focus of attention, from their origins and prevalence to intervention and prevention strategies. But while delinquent youth form gangs worldwide, youth gang research has generally focused on the U.S. Youth Gangs in International Perspective provides a needed corrective by offering significant studies from across Europe, as well as Trinidad-Tobago and Israel. The book spans the diversity of the field in the cultural and scholarly traditions represented and methods used, analyzing not only the social processes under which gangs operate and cohere, but also the evolution of the research base, starting with the Eurogang Program's definition of the term youth gang. Cross-national and gender issues are discussed, as are measurement concerns and the possibility that the American conception of the youth gang is impeding European understanding of these groups. Among the topics covered: Gang dynamics through the lens of social identity theory.Defining gangs in youth correctional settings.Gang gender composition and youth delinquency.From Stockholm: a holistic approach to gang intervention.Gang membership as a turning point in the life course.The impact of globalization, immigration, and social process on neo-Nazi youth gangs. Filling a critical gap in the literature, Youth Gangs in International Perspective will find a wide audience among criminologists, policymakers specializing in youth crime, and researchers and graduate students in criminology, political science, and youth studies.

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