We are grateful to the National Institute of Mental Health (Research Grant MH2072) and the Social Research Center of Washington State University for support of this research. Earlier versions of this paper were presented to the Pacific Sociological Association and the E. W. Burgess Memorial Symposium in the spring of 1974, and the American Sociological Association meetings in August, 1974. We are indebted to many people who have commented on the paper, but especially to Morris Janowitz, Edward Shils, Clarence Schrag, Gerald Suttles, and anonymous reviewers.
Politics and Youth Gangs: a Follow-up Study†
Article first published online: 21 APR 2005
The Sociological Quarterly
Volume 17, Issue 2, pages 162–179, March 1976
How to Cite
Short, J. F. and Moland, J. (1976), Politics and Youth Gangs: a Follow-up Study. The Sociological Quarterly, 17: 162–179. doi: 10.1111/j.1533-8525.1976.tb00972.x
- Issue published online: 21 APR 2005
- Article first published online: 21 APR 2005
Scholarly interest in the political relationships of youth gangs recently has revived, following mass media reports of the politicization of some gangs and federal and private funding in support of economic and socially constructive programs in which a few large gangs participated. Unlike earlier gang political activities (which supported entrenched political power) recent reports suggest that youth gangs and their young adult counterparts have become radicalized, alienated from traditional political approaches and ideologies. This paper focuses on the political attitudes and activities, especially with respect to civil rights programs of young men. now aged 21 to 35, who were members of black youth gangs studied initially between 1959 and 1962. Assimilationist organizations and approaches receive higher recognition and support than do protest, black nationalist, and other groups, and violent methods. Variations in response reflect gang and community differences. The crientation to politics reflected in the findings appears more pragmatic than ideological. The potential for effective organization is related to recent reports of militant organization within prisons, a common experience for gang members.