To begin… my greatest apologies for going on a blogging break for the past few months. However, I am back and with much material to write about! Re-joining forces with the BEP team, I’m very excited about the new additions and changes in the program [more about BEP will be updated in another post]. I also recently have decided that I need to read more about this topic on my own and gather as much information as I can – not just psychological articles but whatever I can find. On that note, I have just purchased a book by John M. Hagedorn titled A World of Gangs: Armed Young Men and Gangsta Culture.
For the more than a billion people who now live in urban slums, gangs are ubiquitous features of daily life. Though still most closely associated with American cities, gangs are an entrenched, worldwide phenomenon that play a significant role in a wide range of activities, from drug dealing to extortion to religious and political violence. In A World of Gangs, John Hagedorn explores this international proliferation of the urban gang as a consequence of the ravages of globalization. Looking closely at gang formation in three world cities-Chicago, Rio de Janeiro, and Capetown-he discovers that some gangs have institutionalized as a strategy to confront a hopeless cycle of poverty, racism, and oppression. In particular, Hagedorn reveals, the nihilistic appeal of gangsta rap and its street ethic of survival “by any means necessary” provides vital insights into the ideology and persistence of gangs around the world. This groundbreaking work concludes on a hopeful note. Proposing ways in which gangs might be encouraged to overcome their violent tendencies, Hagedorn appeals to community leaders to use the urgency, outrage, and resistance common to both gang life and hip-hop in order to bring gangs into broader movements for social justice.
Professor and author Hagedorn offers an interesting view on gangs and gang life. I am very interested in what the book has to offer; no doubt you will be reading several posts about what I learn from this book as well.