The semiotics of the evolving gang masculinity and Glasgow

Robert McLean, Christopher Holligan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Glasgow has a persistent and historical gang culture. Dimensions of ‘the gang’, such as behaviour, formation, membership, and territoriality are recognised widely. The gap in our knowledge lies in the nature of a gang’s evolutionary flexibility. Given that life course criminology foregrounds continuity and change in offending it is surprising evolution has gone unrecognised in Scotland. Many contemporary studies of youth gangs connect ‘gang talk’ exclusively with territoriality and masculinity overlooking criminal progression. The argument of this article does not dispute the dominant received conceptualisation of the youth urban street gang. The article’s contribution is to progress beyond these narrowing tropes and chronological age boundaries to encompass a more complex portrayal of Glasgow gangs and the lives of the indigenous Scottish young lads who were interviewed. The article does this by voicing the lived experiences of those whose lives are enmeshed with gang membership and whose linguistic register rarely achieves a serious platform in the middle-class world in control of the British media.
Original languageEnglish
Article number125
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Sciences
Volume7
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2018

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semiotics
masculinity
criminology
middle class
continuity
flexibility
linguistics
experience

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The semiotics of the evolving gang masculinity and Glasgow. / McLean, Robert; Holligan, Christopher.

In: Social Sciences, Vol. 7, No. 8, 125, 30.07.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - Glasgow has a persistent and historical gang culture. Dimensions of ‘the gang’, such as behaviour, formation, membership, and territoriality are recognised widely. The gap in our knowledge lies in the nature of a gang’s evolutionary flexibility. Given that life course criminology foregrounds continuity and change in offending it is surprising evolution has gone unrecognised in Scotland. Many contemporary studies of youth gangs connect ‘gang talk’ exclusively with territoriality and masculinity overlooking criminal progression. The argument of this article does not dispute the dominant received conceptualisation of the youth urban street gang. The article’s contribution is to progress beyond these narrowing tropes and chronological age boundaries to encompass a more complex portrayal of Glasgow gangs and the lives of the indigenous Scottish young lads who were interviewed. The article does this by voicing the lived experiences of those whose lives are enmeshed with gang membership and whose linguistic register rarely achieves a serious platform in the middle-class world in control of the British media.

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