Gangs, Culture, and Society in the United States

  • Martín Sánchez-Jankowski
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Risk, Crime and Society book series (PSRCS)


Despite being labeled ‘deviant’ and ‘criminal’ by members of the legal profession and general public, gangs have been a persistent part of American society for more than two hundred years.

How does a phenomenon like ‘gangs’ remain active in America if everyone considers this phenomenon ‘criminal’? This chapter offers an alternative to the ‘criminal’ framework by presenting gangs as an integrated part of American society, even though they have often engaged in anti-social behavior. Because gangs have both engaged in anti-social behavior and been integrated within the broader culture, they have been used by various entrepreneurs in society to advance the entrepreneurs’ interests. The functional use of gangs by legitimate elements in the society has endured for so long that it has resulted in them becoming an integrated part of American identity and culture.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martín Sánchez-Jankowski
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, BerkeleyBerkeleyUSA

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