Assault as a socially acceptable and even encouraged practice amongst subcultural gangs in Scotland

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This study contributes to a gap in our knowledge about mentalities associated with violent assault perpetrated by young working-class men in peer groups in Scotland. While a number of studies analyse Scotland’s street gangs in relation to consequential behaviour, there remains a gap in research focussed upon understanding how group dynamics orientate cognitive scripts in particular trajectories such that assault violence becomes valorised as an acceptable means of social bonding. Existing accounts of consequential group behaviour neglect internalised group dynamics which it is suggested are preferable for understanding this collective subcultural behaviour. Drawing upon insights from in-depth life history interviews with (ex) offenders in Scotland, collective violent practice was found to have a strategic logic rather than being random. It demonstrated a calculated cognitive understanding harbouring complex psychosocial properties. The latter are embedded in an amalgam of peer recognition, peer pressure, masculine identity, and even the alleviation of posttraumatic stress. The research study offers further insight into understanding environmental influence upon groups in urban contexts, while as a corollary illuminating embedded gang culture whose agency disrupts and distorts how mainstream norms are conceptualised.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jul 2018
EventBritish Society of Criminology Annual Conference 2018 - Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 3 Jul 20186 Jul 2018 (Conference website.)


ConferenceBritish Society of Criminology Annual Conference 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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