Panic: The Social Construction of the Street Gang Problem

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9780130944580: Panic: The Social Construction of the Street Gang Problem

This book challenges many of the claims made by law enforcement and the media regarding the nature and extent of the gang problem in the United States. Employing a social constructionist approach to the study of social problems, the authors detail how law enforcement has figured prominently in the creation and promotion of stereotypes—marketing the gang threat via the news media to protect and increase organizational resources and power. A rich historical context traces street gangs form their emergence in urban centers in the 19th century, to the western outlaw gangs of the post-Civil War period, to contemporary gangs. Other chapters cover conditions, social problems, and moral panics; the police, crime control, and gangs; crime, gangs, and the news media; the gang panic in Nevada; gangs in the legislature; prosecuting gangs; and panic at the national level. For citizens interested in social problems and public policy.

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From the Back Cover:

Panic: The Social Construction of the Street Gang Problem deals with the "discovery" of the street gang problem in the United States during the 1980s. In these pages, authors Richard McCorkle and Terance Miethe argue that gangs are a major social threat—not only because of the increased concrete threat, but because of their impact on the world around us. The result has been increased crime, a proliferation of inefficient anti-gang policies, and the squandering of millions of taxpayer dollars.

Panic: The Social Construction of the Street Gang Problem focuses on the events, organizations, and processes that surrounded the gang panic during the late 1980s and early 1990s, a period during which gangs expanded greatly in American cities. This book provides critical insights into the discovery of the gang problem throughout the country and will encourage others to re-examine the nature of the gang threat in any jurisdiction.

About the Author:

Terance Miethe received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Washington State University, and is currently a Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He is the author of several books and research articles in the areas of criminal victimization, theories of crime, and criminal processing.

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McCorkle, Richard C., Miethe, Terance D.
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