Gangs mostly are unsupervised peer groups. Some are from oppressed minority groups and others are drawn from dominant groups. Some gangs persist over years and even decades due to their relationship with powerful elites from their ethnic group, as the gangs tied to the Shiv Sena in Mumbai (Bombay, India), the Bakassi Boys in Nigeria, or the Irish Social Athletic Clubs in early 20th century Chicago.
Some gangs from minority groups also have persisted over decades, such as the Hard Livings Gang in Cape Town or the Gangster Disciples, latin Kings, and Vice Lords, of Chicago, or the Crips & Bloods in Los Angeles.
Both of these kinds of gangs can be said to "institutionalize"
meaning it persists despite changes in leadership (e.g. killed, incarcerated,
or “matured out”), has organization complex enough to
sustain multiple roles of its members (including roles for women and
children), can adapt to changing environments (e.g. police repression)
without dissolving, fulfills some needs of its community (economics,
security, services), and organizes a distinct outlook of its members
(sometimes called a gang “subculture”).
|Back to Hagedorn's Defintion. Back to gangresearch.net|