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: 164524 Find in a Library
Title: Inside Gang Society: "How Gang Members Imitate Legitimate Social Forms"
Journal: Journal of Gang Research  Volume:3  Issue:4  Dated:(Summer 1996)  Pages:1-12
Author(s): A P F Elder
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 12
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper offers insights on how current knowledge of gangs and organizational behavior can assist in understanding and preventing the development and persistence of gangs, including how to create constructive alternatives for at-risk youth.
Abstract: Recent research findings are presented to show how gangs imitate legitimate social forms, that is, norms and structure found in the larger society, as well as the unique ways in which gang members view wider society. This research suggests that organizationally and normatively there are selective and patterned practices, structures, and conditions in gang society that also have comparable forms in legitimate society. Attention to these similarities and their patterns places gang intervention and prevention in a more grounded theoretical perspective, such that social change in gang operations can be guided by scientific knowledge of organizational behavior. A first step toward controlling the development of the gang organization and the participation of juveniles in gangs may involve launching a counterattack on the gang's belief system and the ideological socialization given its members. Jankowski's research shows that gangs use ideology as an organizational resource for explaining why their members should be in the gang and for solidifying the members' allegiance to the group through bonding, unity, and identity. If the gang is viewed by juveniles as the only adaptive alternative to their lacking economic opportunities, coupled with a belief that society does not care what happens to them, many youths will remain vulnerable to the recruitment and socialization practices of gangs. 4 tables, 21 notes, 9 selected references, and appended survey questions for soliciting information on the gang as a social organization
Main Term(s): Juvenile/Youth Gangs
Index Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prevention; Juvenile gang behavior patterns; Social conditions; Social organization
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.