Gangs are multifaceted and varied, so any attempt to understand them cannot be restricted to a singular approach. On Gangs provides a diverse and comprehensive survey of the available theories for understanding this social issue as well as the broad range of responses to it. The authors look at the many influences on gangs’ operation, growth, prevention, and enforcement.
The authors provide different criminological, psychological, and sociological approaches to gang studies, including interviews with past and current gang members. On Gangs presents the core issues for understanding gangs, including emerging topics like prison gangs, gender and gangs, and international gangs. There is also a focus on policing, legislation, and punishment. Weaving together research and policy findings to address the causes, contexts, and consequences of gangs, the authors address topics including joining, resisting, and leaving gangs, and how gangs operate in communities and institutions.
An authoritative and sweeping tour of gang scholarship, On Gangs showcases the critical evidence-based solutions in prevention, enforcement, legislation, and intervention. The authors seek to answer the question: How do we effectively deal with gangs and gang membership?
Scott H. Decker is Foundation Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University. He is co-author (with Marie Provine, Monica Varsanyi, and Paul Lewis) of Policing Immigrants: Local Law Enforcement on the Front Lines. Kevin A. Wright is an Associate Professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University.
“On Gangs is one of those truly rare books that succinctly summarizes a sprawling field of research while also offering a bold and thoughtful vision for the future. A must-have and must-read for anyone interested in the study of street gangs. It will be dog-eared and highlighted within minutes.”—Andrew V. Papachristos, Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University
“As impressive in depth as it is in breadth, three OGs from gang scholarship cover the full spectrum of issues from gang definitions and structures to gender, ethnicity, and international perspectives. This heavyweight contribution should rise to the top of the hierarchy of gang scholarship.”—Professor Simon Harding, Director of the National Centre for Gangs Research, London
“On Gangs offers a much-needed synthesis and assessment of our scholarly knowledge on gangs, offering the reader breadth, depth, and rich insights on these groups, their members, the contexts in which they emerge, and the complex efforts to respond to them. Decker, Pyrooz, and Densley promise an ‘integrative and authoritative’ account, and they deliver with a text that is intellectually rigorous and engaging. Their historical accounts of gangs and gang scholarship; their inclusion of core, critical, and emerging issues; and their thoughtful assessment of gang interventions make this an especially welcome contribution. It will be the go-to source for anyone hoping to better understand gangs and our study of these groups.”—Jody Miller, Distinguished Professor at the Rutgers School of Criminal Justice, and author of One of the Guys: Girls, Gangs, and Gender
"On Gangs, is a comprehensive summary of various aspects of gangs.... Students in criminal justice, sociology, and other programs can benefit from On Gangs. It can be a perfect textbook for an undergraduate gang class because it provides extensive aspects of gangs from basic knowledge such as the definition, organizational structure, onset, and desistance, to critical issues such as gender and race, and to the responses to gangs from the three branches of criminal justice system. On Gangs can also be a good resource book for a graduate course because it summarizes numerous prior outstanding studies on relevant topics and also gives directions to future research.”—Journal of Criminal Justice Education
"When it comes to academic textbooks dedicated to the study of gangs, On Gangs by Scott Decker, David Pyrooz, and James Densley is the new 'OG!' On Gangs is by far the most comprehensive and in-depth textbook that exists on the market today and will likely remain the standard until it goes out of print.... On Gangs is the quintessential textbook for any undergraduate or graduate class as it provides a rock-solid foundation on all aspects of gang scholarship over the last century.”—Criminal Justice Review
"[A] comprehensive review of the research and theory on the concept of gangs.... The writing is sophisticated.... This book will best serve students and scholars in the fields of counseling, psychology, sociology, or social work as well as professionals in a wide range of social services. It is sufficiently comprehensive to be considered a reference work as well. Summing Up: Recommended."—Choice