Youth gangs, violence and anti-social behaviour

Wednesday, 26 September 2007 00:00 White, R. Sport and Community Safety

This paper provides an exploration and overview of issues pertaining to gang formation, and to gang violence.

The first part of the paper basically argues that gangs are variable, diverse and difficult to define in precise terms. A range of possible identifiers is considered, and gang characteristics as well as gang membership are discussed. Distinctions are made between gangs and other types of youth group formations. Likewise, a distinction is made between gangs, as such, and gang-related behaviour. The latter involves activities, such as drug use and street fighting, that may be perceived as gang-like but which do not require gang membership. A key theme of this section is that knowledge of
gangs must go beyond stereotypes and presumptions about particular groups of young people to include grounded research and local area assessments.

The second part of the paper examines the issue of group violence. It begins by briefly surveying recent research from Perth, Melbourne and Sydney that specifically deals with matters of gang violence. It is established that young people who identify as being a gang member are more likely to engage in violence than those who are non-gang members. This violence also tends to be more extensive, more frequent and more group-based. The social dynamics of violence are then explored from the point of view of social factors, the processes whereby situations develop into violent events, and
the rituals and meaning of violence for participants. Explanations for violence are also sought in examination of the interplay between ethnicity, masculinity, class and neighbourhood context. A key theme of this section is that gang violence is produced within specific social, economic and cultural contexts, and that to understand this violence requires consideration of forces and factors outside of the conscious control of those participating in the violence.

The paper identifies issues for further research consideration, particularly in regard to the development of typologies of different youth group formations at the local level, and investigation of the kinds of violent and anti-social activities engaged in by young people in different locales.



 editors comments   

Editor's comments - [ Whilst not particularly related to sport, this report was written for the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY), it founded by a group of eminent experts and organisations in reaction to increasingly worrying trends in the wellbeing of Australia’s young people.

ARACY is a national organisation with members based across Australia. ARACY asserts that by working together, rather than working in isolation, we are more likely to uncover solutions to the problems affecting children and young people. ]  Reference this?Cryer, J. (Year). This page title in italics. Retrieved date, from <this page's full URL>

In the text: Cryer (year)


APA reference for this document


Reference : White, R. (2007). Youth gangs, violence and anti-social behaviour. Tasmania: University of Tasmania


The above reference is in the APA style: See why this is important in our [how to reference] us guide.


Download this document [Use of this document may be limited by © copyright ; by downloading you consent to our terms and conditions ]


Download this file (gangsaus.pdf)gangsaus.pdfWhite, R. (2007). Youth gangs, violence and anti-social behaviour. Tasmania: University of Tasmania
Last Updated on Thursday, 24 September 2009 11:54