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Youth Gangs: The Delinquent Adolescent Subculture Both urban and rural spaces have witnessed the proliferation of youth gangs in the past decades. The presence of these societal groups has indisputably caught the attention of authorities due to their activities that disrupt law and order…
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Delinguent Youth Subcultures Gangs
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Download file to see previous pages Historical Overview Unlawful and criminal subcultures have a long history in industrialized populations. Some experts purports that the dawning of adolescent subcultures, including the delinquent varieties, occurred in the sixteenth century when humongous social changes took place. While others believe that the advent of Capitalism and the Industrial Revolution in Western Europe, which left countless people unemployed and impoverished and disturbed families and communities, gave rise to the criminal tendencies of people, especially of the youth. These ‘dangerous sectors’ of society roamed the countryside and victimized travelers in order to survive, and eventually settled in metropolitan areas -- still subsisting on whatever means available, including theft, robbery and extortion (Cressey, 1983). In the United States, however, there is no certainty as to the exact time when youth gangs appeared. The earliest record confirming their existence traces back to 1783, when the American Revolution ended. Allegedly, these delinquent youths surfaced in a time when the urban conditions of the country overwhelmed them. Meanwhile, other investigators deemed that youth gangs originally came forth after the Mexican Revolution in 1813, when massive Mexican migrations to the Southwest happened. The young members of these new settlers, as hypothesized, might have experienced many difficulties in adjusting to the American way of life, notwithstanding their extreme poverty (Klein, 1995). The Baby Boom, following the Second World War, and the heightened affluence of young people during the Post-World War II economic prosperity of the US combined to fashion a great youth market with economic power who started to create its own identity and groups. At the same period, the young were spending more time in school and their mothers who joined the labor force were away from home, hence parenting and child discipline were somehow neglected. These circumstances of social change, including the strong influence of media, brought about the subculture of young delinquents (Schwartz, 1987). Youth gangs in the United States during the early 19th century were primarily composed of Irish, Italian and Jewish ethnic groups, alongside the Hispanics (Sante, 1991). But in the 1950s, Chinese youth gangs proliferated exponentially. Chin (1996) traced its development to ancient secret society and Triad traditions back to China. As political castaways who were disfavored and alienated in the Asian nation, these US immigrants formed clandestine assemblies and activities such as gambling, prostitution and drug-trafficking. Rivalry among this disintegrated secret society led to violence, while inherent competition and discrimination against its American-born and other ethnic counterparts more often than not resulted in riots, if not heinous crimes (Chin, 1996). Theoretical Underpinnings Although there is no absolute and universally-accepted definition of youth gangs, it is the general consensus of scholars that they are groups whose members meet regularly and whose membership is group-selected based on certain group-defined criteria (Short & Hughes, 2006). Furthermore, they are mostly consisting of a sectoral group who share common identity, values and tradition. Youth who belong to gangs range from ages 12 to 24 (Franzese, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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