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The Psychology of Gangs

AP Psychology Project Mallory Rotondo Mrs. Welcome June 10, 2011

Mallory Rotondo

on 9 June 2011

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Transcript of The Psychology of Gangs

The Psychology of Gangs Notorious gangs Anyone who has studied gangs over a period of time will admit that the more one studies them, the more complex they are. At best, we can come to understand a bit about certain features of gangs at given points of time. Gangs are dynamic, flexible and ever-changing. (William B. Sanders, 1994) desire for purpose desire to be loved and accepted desire for power Gang members have specific tasks, goals, and purposes. This gives each member the feeling of having a vital role in the group's success as a whole. Many young gang members have a weak sense of identity and are searching for someone to lead them. Gang members find a distorted love and coerced acceptance
The need for protection
Often call eachother "brother" (simulating a family unit)
Gives them the sense of community possibly deprived from at home
53% of Gang members were abused or neglected as a child SECURITY “Within the gang you’re a somebody,” one gang counselor observes. “People respect you; you’ve got a name. Most of the kids I see are from one-parent or no-parent families. Nobody notices them, nobody really cares about them, and nobody has time for them. But the gang has time for them. It’s as simple as that (Stewart, 1997, p. 11). the feeling of pride
money and power associated with gang violence and crime
an outlet for hostility or anger The California Council on Criminal Justice has defined a gang as “a group of people who interact at a high rate among themselves to the exclusion of other groups. A gang has a group name, claims a neighbourhood or other territory, and engages in criminal or other antisocial behaviour on a regular basis” (Barden, 1989, p. 9). Originally, the open teardrop meant that the wearer had killed someone and the closed teardrop meant that the wearer had lost a friend or relative. Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs group psychology individual psychology "Every two hours in America today a child dies of a gunshot wound." (Kids Count Data Book, 14). Why would anybody want to be involved in such a terrible reality? Truth is, there is more to gangs than violence. Let's take a look at two different aspects of gang psychology... what do gangs offer? acceptance
a surrogate family
a means for earning money
an alternative to school
a rite of passage to adulthood
opportunity to build self-esteem
outlet for anger/aggression According to Abraham Maslow, each person has a hierarchy of needs and as each lower level of need is satisfied, the next level becomes dominant Gangs can satisfy the social and personal needs that are unmet in families, schools, or neighborhoods What are the gang members' needs?
Let's look closer at Maslow's theory... "7 in 10 kids here grow up in homes without a Dad. Acacia is full of young men looking for a surrogate family and a father figure to help them find the way." physiological "the hood"
a shelter, gang members help eachother to survive. Gang life is a life of SURVIVAL safety Gang violence, protection, gang war, defending eachother, a unit. Although it sounds ironic, gangs provide protection, shelter, and a sense of safety for members love & belonging FAMILY
a unit; often have a uniform color to represent their unity; gang signs symbolize their common language and connection; gang BROTHERS; gang CODE; sense of community & sense of importance and role in a group esteem self-concept & self-esteem
Gangs give each member a vital role. Members now have RESPONSIBILITY (yes, being responsible IS a need)
The sense of accomplishment
an outlet for individualism self actualization According to Maslow, every person's common goal.
a state of confidence and HAPPINESS a surrogate family. What keeps a gang alive? beyond the individual.. Now, a closer look at the psychology of a group.. what keeps a group together? And...
how does gang life effect an individual? social influence conformity- adjusting one's behavior or thinking to coincide with a group stand studies show conformity increases when... one is made to feel incompetent/insecure
the group has at least three people
the group is unanimous on a decision
one admires the group's status and attractiveness
others in the group are observing behavior
one's culture strongly encourages respect for social standards Solomon Asch's conformity study Obedience Why will gangmembers follow gang leaders like "Poo" from the video? obedience is highest when... the person giving orders has authority
the victim is depersonalized
there were no role models for defiance
the authority figure was supported by a prestigious institution Deindividuation the loss of self-awareness and self-restraint occuring in group situations that foster arousal and anonymity In the form of tattoos, colors, and other signs of unity, gang members begin to lose their individual identity Thus, the presence of others can change an individual's bahvior. It is important to consider the communities gang members come from when analyzing their personal standards and values. The Three R's of Gang Culture reputation respect retaliation The Department of Justice estimates there are approximately 27,900 gangs, with 774,000 members, impacting communities across the United States. Gang life is real; it's dangerous; it's psychological questions?
concerns? Mallory Rotondo
AP Psychology
June 10, 2011 Questions? works cited Grolier Multimedia Encyclopaedia, 1995 Margot Webb, Coping with Street Gangs. Rosen Publishing Group, New York, 1990. David Wilkerson, The Cross and the Switchblade. William Foote Whyte, Street Corner Society. University of Chicago,Chicago, 1955. Merton Nisbet, Contemporary Social Problems. Harcourt, Brace & World, New York, 197. Roper, Vincent. "The Psychology of Criminal Behavior." Athabasca University. Ahtabasca University, 01 jan 2004. Web. 8 Jun 2011. <http://www.athabascau.ca/courses/crjs/360/gangs.html>. Redl, Fritz. "The Psychology of Gang Formation and the Treatment of Juvenile Delinquents." Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing. Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing, 2011. Web. 8 Jun 2011. <http://www.pep-web.org/document.php?id=psc.001.0367a>.
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