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Are Gangs A Necessity Of Our Society: Sociological View

Updated on February 12, 2013

Gangs are essentially a group, a social group that participates in sometimes illegal activities. Members are recruited in youth and are with the gang for life. Most sociologist will agree that groups are needed to fulfill the many needs of a person, although many will disagree on what a gang will actual give someone.

Like another group, gangs will fulfill needs for youth and all their members. Some of the needs they fulfill are a sense of belonging, an extension of their families. Gangs are together all the time, they work, play, eat and sleep together, so the bond that is formed will be long lasting and strong just like that of a family. Another need that is fulfilled is a way to survive, whether it be money or security. Gangs take care of each other and look out for each other. Many people that go to jail will immediately turn to one gang or the other, for the simple fact without it everyone is an enemy, as opposed to only the chosen gangs opposition. In big cities, the same is true, less enemies and more people on your side to help. Gangs are more prevalent in low income areas for the fact that there may not be as many jobs available, as well as a higher number of impoverished families. For many, gangs may be the only way to make a living at such a young age to help their families, as well as gangs may be seen as the best choice for the long term. Another need they meet would be neighborhood security, gangs may be more effective than police at handling crime and they are not limited to legal means. Many big city citizens feel abandoned by their police force and will turn to local gangs to help them.

From a functionalist perspective, gangs are just a part of society as a whole. When one part of society breaks down, gangs are there to fill in the gaps. They could also be considered a negative side effect of the failed part of society.

Symbolic perspective would see gangs as a strength symbol. Youth are taught to idolize gangs by way of television, music and other medias. If a child learns the a positive symbol for gangs, the symbol will become desirable, thus so will the person’s view of the gang.

In a conflict theory, gangs are a necessity for survival. As all small groups are in constant conflict to acquire resources, gangs are just another one of those small groups. Gangs could be used for a group of society that would not be able to get it any other way, so gangs are a necessity to those small groups.

To build a city or restructure a city to not require gangs, there would need to be many things implemented. To not require a gang, everyone in the community, even the impoverished would have to have all their needs fulfilled. To cover security, police forces may need to be hired to cover all areas of the city. An alternative could be to set up large scale neighborhood watches to cover areas that police do not commonly survey. To fulfill the need of friendship and families, churches and after school programs should be stepped up. If there are positive activities for children and youth to be in, they might need a gang as a viable option. Which also would preclude the symbolism that is a gang, parents will need to restrict media that glorifies these types of activities, so their children will not turn to gangs as they get older.

More importantly though, there has to be enough good paying jobs for all areas of the city. If there is no jobs for the youth and uneducated, they will have to find a way to make money, which is where gangs may come into play. If the city has enough jobs and all citizens have access to them, there would be no need for gangs. So for all the jobs that are going out of our country, a city could try to reclaim these jobs for their own citizens. A city could also try to create more with better infrastructure and new construction


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    • kaiyan717 profile image

      kaiyan717 4 years ago from West Virginia

      I was living in Slidell around the time of Katrina and I will admit you are right. I am not saying they are good all the time, but you must admit that many people felt abandoned and helpless after the hurricane. I will not condone what was done, but I think the storm and aftermath brought out the best and the worst in many neighborhoods. I hope your family faired well in the storm, I am not sure how bad it was for you.

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      Larry Wall 4 years ago

      Interesting presentation. Gangs are created for lots of reasons. After Hurricane Katrina the gangs 225 and 504, the numbers representing the area codes of Baton Rouge and New Orleans. In the midst of all the problems, the gangs found the energy to create more problems.