"The project intends to study the development of policies relating to gangs by using the Spanish experience as a case study. Over the last few years a rising interest in gang has emerged as a consequence of the French banlieue explosion and other violent events concerning, mainly but not only, young migrants and second generations all over Europe. These phenomena generated a huge flow of media stories resulting in moral panic and stigmatization processes against vulnerable subjects, as well as public interventions at local and national level.
The project aims to investigate local policies - that have moved from a social exclusionary approach to a social integrationist one – with a focus on its successes and limitations. The social integrationist approach attempts to: a) reduce inter and intra-group violence; b) foster internal democratic leaderships; c) support gender empowerment inside groups; d) translate group practices of self help and sociality into formal youth association; e) support member integration within society by encouraging public recognition of their cultural practices. In this respect stakeholders (local administrators, gang leaders, media opinion leaders, social workers, police officers, ..) play a decisive role in determining the quality of outcomes.
The project will use a qualitative and ethnographic methodology, based on interviews and observational data, focusing mainly on stake-holders perspectives and practices. A set of specific interviews with female gang leaders will allow to analyse the impact of policies in gender relations within gangs. Focus groups, blog and visual sociology will be applied to promote stakeholders’ reflexivity and to increase dissemination of the project’s findings. A panel of international experts will contribute by: putting the Spanish case in a European and more global perspective; assessing achieved results; theorizing an alternative approach to gangs; supporting best practices and guidelines formulation."
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