Educating 'Gangsters': Social space, informal learning and becoming 'Gang' involved

MCHUGH, Richard (2017). Educating 'Gangsters': Social space, informal learning and becoming 'Gang' involved. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This research focuses on the previously neglected topic of how people are educated into groups commonly described as ‘gangs’; in particular, this thesis outlines the role that social space plays in such educative processes. This focus enables both a new contribution to knowledge in the field of ‘gang’ studies and understandings of the way social space is used, understood and perceived by those involved in ‘gangs’. Much research exists in the field of ‘gang’ studies spanning various disciplines and sub-fields. The existing literature on ‘gangs’ predominantly engages with typographies, definitions and prevention; the majority of which stems from a criminological perspective. There has been no direct attempt to explore the ways in which people are educated into ‘gangs’ thus far. Rather than begin from any predetermined assumptions, this research centred on people who have been involved with or affected by ‘gangs’ in order to begin from the lived experiences of those involved or affected. In-depth interviews were carried out with twenty-two participants who are, or were: involved in ‘gangs’; family members of ‘gangs’; and professionals who work with ‘gangs’ (most of whom were previously involved in such groups themselves). Other ethnographic methods were utilised alongside interviews: primarily overt, with some covert participant observations. Ethnographic aspects of the research were undertaken during a twelve-month period in social spaces that were highlighted by participants as being synonymous with, and frequented, by ‘gangs’. This thesis highlights the conditions, structures, agentive responses and social spaces that form the educative processes for becoming involved in ‘gangs’. My contribution to knowledge herein demonstrates how: education within ‘gangs’ takes place through stories, social haunting and reflection within third places and the wider community; occurs under structural conditions but is mediated by agentive choice; social space fosters a community spirit and offers the opportunity to become someone.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Hickman, Paul [0000-0002-3062-0003]
Additional Information: Director of Studies : Professor Paul Hickman
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Jill Hazard
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 13:20
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:05

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