Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Inspired by a scholarly desire to understand and explain things, formal theoretical explanations for the social problem of gangs have been around just about as long as gangs themselves. This is an inductive content analysis of the texts within twentieth century works explaining gangs. This study explores those explanations as social artifacts and analyzes the text within them in order to identify textual similarities. This is accomplished by consolidating codified text or words until typologies of abstract theoretical concepts are revealed. The purpose of this study is to identify probable causal factors for gang formation and gang joining behavior that could be addressed while developing community programs and projects.

The study approaches this problem by posing four research questions. The first research question is directed at the study's literature review. (1) What theoretical concepts, specifically sociological, can be employed to interpret the texts and to develop categories Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. and classes? This is followed by a generalized question centered on the research method and design. (2) Are explanations related to gang formation and gang-joining behavior so individually unique that their textual themes cannot be consolidated into categories under classes? Two additional questions, specific in nature and related to the study's findings and conclusions, are then posed. (3) What categories and classes were formed? (4) What typologies were derived from the categories and classes?

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access