As defined in the Project Proposal, the main challenges we address during the project are:
a. To review the historical literature on youth gangs in order to elaborate a theoretical synthesis. Gang theories have been focused on the (North) American gang pattern, mainly territorial, masculine, based on ethnicity and highly influenced by the criminal justice system. Our aim is to explore the evolution towards non territorial, mixed, multiethnic and non criminal types of gangs.
b. To develop a renewed model for the analysis of transnational youth gangs in the global age. Comparative migration processes evolved incorporating transnational approaches. Our aim is to incorporate this perspective in gang studies, analysing in which way the neoliberal era, flexible capitalism and hybrid cultures affect the nature and function of gangs.
c. To apply an experimental model for comparing gangs in two groups: Latinos and Arabs. While Latino gangs have been over-studied, similar street-groups from Arab backgrounds are under-studied. Our aim is to compare transnational street youth groups in order to understand the collective forms of behaviour that emerge from both cultural backgrounds.
d. To explore experiences in which gangs have acted as agents of mediation, as well as barriers that block these attempts. Most of the research on gangs focuses on their deviant aspects. Our aim is to explore other cases in which gang, NGOs, local authorities and police have explored alternative discourses and practices.
e. To deduce more effective ways of intervention to prevent the hegemony of the criminal gang pattern. The current hegemonic gang pattern is based on violent behaviour in the ‘criminal’ pattern of the Latino gangs, as well as in the ‘radical’ pattern of the Arab street groups. Our aim is to cooperate with gang leaders, ex-gang members, police officers, youth workers and other stakeholders, in order to analyse which are the more effective ways of prevention and intervention, including the self-management of the peer groups of their social situation.