gangs

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gangs

relatively closed groups of (usually) working-class youth, with identifiable leadership roles, and often associated with particular territories and deviant activity. The first sociological work on gangs was influenced by the interactionist perspective developed by the CHICAGO SCHOOL. Subsequent classic studies (e.g. Cohen, 1955; Whyte, 1955) continued to employ this perspective, examining the way in which individuals were socialized into the SUBCULTURE of the group, the nature of the value system which this represented, and its function for individual members. More recently, sociological research has examined the MORAL PANICS created by gangs of MODS AND ROCKERS (Cohen, 1973) and by FOOTBALL HOOLIGANISM (Taylor, 1971; Marsh et al., 1978; Dunning et al., 1988). Most of the classic studies of gangs have been concerned with white working-class youth, indicating the need for further empirical work in the area of race, ethnicity and gender. See also CRIMINOLOGY, DELINQUENCY, DELINQUENT SUBCULTURE, LABELLING THEORY, FOLK DEVILS, DEVIANCE AMPLIFICATION, RESISTANCE THROUGH RITUAL.