The Origins and Impact of Contemporary Youth Gangs in the United States

Edited by Scott Cummings & Daniel J. Monti

Subjects: Criminology
Series: SUNY series in Urban Public Policy
Paperback : 9780791413265, 368 pages, March 1993
Hardcover : 9780791413258, 368 pages, April 1993

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Table of contents


Part I What We Know and Do Not Know About Gangs

1. Origins and Problems of Gang Research in the United States
Daniel J. Monti

2. Gangs, Drugs, and Violence
Joan Moore

Part II The Behavior and Organization of Gangs in Different Settings

3. Anatomy of a Wilding Gang
Scott Cummings

4. "Down With the Program": Racial Attitudes and Group Violence Among Youth in Bensonhurst and Gravesend
Howard Pinderhughes

5. The Established Gang
Diego Vigil

6. Hispanic Street Gangs in Chicago's Public Schools
Ray Hutchison and Charles Kyle

7. Blazon Nouveau: Gang Graffiti in the Barrios of Los Angeles and Chicago
Ray Hutchison

8. The Working Gang
Felix Padilla

9. Gang Organization and Migration
Jerome H. Skolnick, Ricky Bluthenthal, and Theodore Correl

10. Gangs in More- and Less-Settled Communities
Daniel J. Monti

Part III What Can Be Done About Gangs

11. Moral Panic and the Response to Gangs in California
Pat Jackson with Cary Rudman

12. Gangs and Civil Rights
Robert A. Destro

13. Public Policy and Gangs: Social Science and the Urban Underclass
Scott Cummings and Daniel J. Monti


Selected Bibliography



This book is an examination of contemporary gangs in American cities. Gangs have proliferated over the past ten years and pose a new set of challenges to public officials, law enforcement agencies, and urban educators. Most major cities are now confronted with serious problems derived from gang violence, drug traffic, and disruption of the public educational system. In the face of deindustrialization and deepening recession, many minority youngsters view gangs as attractive alternatives to a futile search for employment in a deteriorating urban economy. Perhaps most significant, gangs are now beginning to emerge in small and medium-sized cities.

Some of the nation's leading scientists and scholars have been brought together in this book to examine the contemporary contours of America's gang problem, including Daniel J. Monti, Joan Moore, Scott Cummings, Howard Pinderhughes, Diego Vigil, Ray Hutchison, Felix Padilla, Jerome H. Skolnick, Pat Jackson, and Robert A. Destro. New material dealing with wilding gangs, migration and drug trafficking, and public educational disruption appear in this volume. Other topics covered include how gangs are organized, what social function they serve, their relation to conventional society, and the social and psychological factors that contribute to their rise. The relationship of the contemporary gang problem to past research is explored, and a rich variety of case histories and comparative analysis is presented. The book also includes a section on public policy.

Scott Cummings is Professor of Urban Policy in the Institute of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Louisville. He is the editor of the Journal of Public Affairs and the author of Business Elites and Urban Development, published by SUNY Press. Daniel J. Monti is Professor of Sociology at Boston University. He has served on a variety of public task forces and organizations dealing with contemporary gang problems and is the author of Race, Redevelopment, and the New Company Town, also published by SUNY Press.


"This book is timely, examining a major social issue in depth. It may be the most authoritative book on gangs to date. The contributing authors are clearly the experts in the field. The book is well written and engaging in style. This is an important book and will be heralded as a genuinely significant contribution to the understanding of gangs and gang-related issues. " — Keith Harries, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

"This is a lively, up-to-date treatment of gangs. It provides a wealth of descriptive material that will be used by researcher and policy makers alike. Because it adopts no particular theoretical perspective, it allows readers to interpret the findings in different ways. Virtually every chapter provides important provides important insights. " — Mark C. Stafford, Washington State University