Putting the 'street' in gang: place and space in the organisation of Scotland's drug selling gangs

Robert McLean, Ross Deuchar, Simon Harding, James Densley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)
78 Downloads (Pure)


Street gangs, by definition, enjoy a special relationship with the street. Prior research shows that some communities are synonymous with gangs and that turf holds a combination of expressive and instrumental value for gang members. As gangs evolve over time and through different levels of organization, however, gangs’ relationship with the street changes. This changing relationship is previously underexplored, thus, drawing on qualitative data from Scotland and Bourdieu’s theory of social field, the current study presents three cases of gangs at different stages of evolution and examines how levels of gang organization affect spatial relationships. As gangs accumulate sufficient street capital to evolve, we find territory is defined less physically and more relationally, with implications for gang research and practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-415
Number of pages20
JournalThe British Journal of Criminology; An International Review of Crime and Society
Issue number2
Early online date5 Sept 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Sept 2018


  • street gangs
  • neighbourhoods
  • territoriality
  • organised crime
  • Glasgow


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