“It's Not Being Racist, but … ”

A Youth Gang and the Creation of Belonging Based on “Othering”

in Boyhood Studies
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  • 1 University of Glasgow sinead.gormally@glasgow.ac.uk
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Abstract

This article explores the tacit endorsement of male youth gang members engaging in “race”-based conflict to gain localized levels of power. It examines the importance of belonging to an “in-group” for these young people via their connectedness to the broader residents, through cultural essentialism toward a Roma “out-group.” The young, male gang members, drawing on what they perceive to be their role, adopt physical and symbolic strategies to assert their control over their space and to concretize their sense of belonging with the wider community in-group. The article considers how a labeled and excluded group of male youth gang members from wider social structures find connection, commonality, and belonging in hardening their self-image through an othering process against those deemed inferior to them.

Contributor Notes

Sinéad Gormally is Senior Lecturer in Community Development at the University of Glasgow. She is a qualified community and youth worker who currently teaches courses on perspectives of young people, research methods, social justice, and community development practice. Her current research is twofold: one area focuses on social justice and equality, challenging the deficit, pathologizing discourse perpetuated at the most marginalized in society and analyzing how youth and community practitioners can create a positive counter narrative; the other focuses on the impact of violence and conflict on individuals and communities. Email: sinead.gormally@glasgow.ac.uk

Boyhood Studies

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