Gang Life in Two Cities: An Insider's Journey

Paperback | January 15, 2013

byRobert J Durán

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Refusing to cast gangs in solely criminal terms, Robert J. Durán, a former gang member turned scholar, recasts such groups as an adaptation to the racial oppression of colonization in the American Southwest. Developing a paradigm rooted in ethnographic research and almost two decades of direct experience with gangs, Durán completes the first-ever study to follow so many marginalized groups so intensely for so long, revealing their core characteristics, behavior, and activities within two unlikely American cities.

Durán spent five years in Denver, Colorado, and Ogden, Utah, conducting 145 interviews with gang members, law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and other relevant individuals. From his research, he constructs a comparative outline of the emergence and criminalization of Latino youth groups, the ideals and worlds they create, and the reasons for their persistence. He also underscores the failures of violent gang suppression tactics, which have only further entrenched these groups within the barrio. Encouraging cultural activists and current and former gang members to pursue grassroots empowerment, Durán proposes new solutions to racial oppression that challenge and truly alter the conditions of gang life.

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Refusing to cast gangs in solely criminal terms, Robert J. Durán, a former gang member turned scholar, recasts such groups as an adaptation to the racial oppression of colonization in the American Southwest. Developing a paradigm rooted in ethnographic research and almost two decades of direct experience with gangs, Durán completes th...

Robert J. Durán is an associate professor of criminal justice at New Mexico State University. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Colorado-Boulder and his research concerns modern-day racism and community resistance, from gang evolution and border surveillance to disproportionate minority contact and law enforcement shootings.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:272 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:January 15, 2013Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023115867x

ISBN - 13:9780231158671

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction1. Researching Gangs as an Insider2. The War on Gangs in the Post-Civil Rights Era3. Racialized Oppression and the Emergence of Gangs4. Demonizing Gangs Through Religious Righteousness and Suppressed Activism5. Negotiating Membership for an Adaptation to Colonization: The Gang6. The Only Locotes Standing: The Persistence of Gang Ideals7. Barrio Empowerment as a Strategy for Transcending GangsConclusionNotesReferencesIndex

Editorial Reviews

The personal and empirical narrative and detailed interview excerpts that Durán offers are compelling and convincing.... Gang Life in Two Cities develops a new paradigm for understanding gang formation and gang enforcement.