skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 147669 Find in a Library
Journal: Gang Journal  Volume:1  Issue:1  Dated:(1992)  Pages:31-56
Author(s): J Bessant; R Watts
Date Published: 1992
Page Count: 26
Type: Historical Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article traces the history and dynamics of the emergence and evolution of the "bodgie" gang in southeast Australia from 1948 through 1956.
Abstract: Prior to the evolution of the "bodgie" and "widgie" phenomena, Australia's working class suburbs had many teenage gangs. They apparently evolved from the "larrikin stoushes" of Sydney and Melbourne in the 1870's and 1880's. The emergence of the "bodgie" lifestyle in the 1950's was based in a dress departure from the customary drab Australian style. Bodgie dress consisted of expensive and tough-looking American clothing styles. The styles selected were designed to project toughness. Bodgie clothes included leather jackets with padded shoulders, black shirts with a white T-shirt showing from underneath the collar, and black pegged 14-inch pants. Shoes had 1-inch crepe soles. Distinctive hair styles were also worn by bodgies. The conscious choice of dress was intended to communicate to others that bodgies were rebellious and distinctively tough. They felt obliged to confirm this image by responding aggressively to any psychological or physical intrusions on their space and identity. Bodgies responded violently to the arrival of post-war immigrants occasioned by the first immigration agreements between Australia, Italy, and Greece. In their own way, youths who adhered to the bodgie lifestyle were seeking to inspire respect, exercise authority, and compel fear from others so as to bolster their sense of importance and self-esteem, particularly in the absence of more traditional means. 89 notes
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Australia; Foreign juvenile delinquency; Juvenile delinquency factors; Peer influences on behavior
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.