'How gangs work: Why talk is cheap and deeds are precious on the streets '

Series Name Criminology Research Seminar
Speaker Dr James Densley
Type Lectures & Talks
Starts at May 15, 2013 01:00 PM
Ends at May 15, 2013 02:00 PM
Venue David Wilson Library Seminar Room
Open To University staff and students
For Bookings Contact Mark Connor, mec19@le.ac.uk

Have you ever wondered why someone would dare permanently tattoo his or her face with gang symbols? Or wear conspicuous gang insignia when crossing notorious territorial boundaries? Or post extravagant acts of violence on YouTube that, in this digital age of perfect remembering, can be used as evidence against them? Or flaunt a criminal record like a badge of honor? This presentation has the answer. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork with gangs in London, Dr James Densley deconstructs the mythology of gangs to make sense of the profiles and motivations of gang members in straightforward, rational terms. He argues gang members read "hard-to-fake" signals, such as those listed above, like lines on curriculum vitae. Recruits, in turn, display them to prove they can be trusted in environments where trust is fragile and no other external dispute resolution mechanism exists. Dr Densley further examines the vital processes of evolution, organisation, and recruitment within gangs and gang members’ instrumental and expressive uses of violence, media, and technology.

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