Public enemy number 1 - the UK youth gang & violent crime: a product of social anxiety and over-representation by the media?

Trusswell, Joanne (2014) Public enemy number 1 - the UK youth gang & violent crime: a product of social anxiety and over-representation by the media? BSc dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    Abstract

    Over the last few years the problem of youth gangs in the UK has been heightened by media reports of their links to violent crime and fatalities involving the use of weapons. This, in turn, has had an impact on policy making and government responses to the alleged problem.
    The aim of this study is threefold: firstly to establish whether the UK is in fact experiencing such a problem and; if this is the case whether youths are joining gangs as a result of the anxieties they experience in society; and is it the case that the problem, as reported in the media is over-exaggerated and is therefore fuelling a moral panic, which in turn is prompting unnecessary responses by the government.
    In order to carry out this study, an extensive analysis of secondary data has been made. The analysis consisted of a review of academic texts in relation to gangs and groups of youths both UK and US based. The research has been based around definitions of gangs, the sociological theories of strain and anomie, subcultures, labelling, deviancy amplification and moral panics together with an analysis of media representations of gangs. Finally an analysis was made of crime statistics in relation to youths in order to make a comparison between representations put forward by the media and the figures produced by the government.
    The study concludes that some form of youth gangs do exist in the UK and, for those that join gangs it is often the only solution they see available to alleviate the anxieties they face in society. It also concludes that the problem does appear to be over-represented in the media which, in turn forces the government’s hand to respond albeit not necessarily in a way which alleviates the problems that youths face.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > Institute of Criminal Justice Studies
    Depositing User: Beth Atkins
    Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2015 14:28
    Last Modified: 06 Mar 2015 14:28
    URI: http://eprints.port.ac.uk/id/eprint/16897

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