Gangs

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The emergence of contemporary urban youth cultures provides a sense of identity and belonging to many of its members. Critically evaluate this statement in relation to the emergence of gang cultures and communities. How should the British education system respond to these rapid societal changes?

In the past 10 years the British education system has began to suffer under the reign of ever growing ‘gang culture’ (CITE). The streets of the UK have been subjected to increased gun culture, knife crimes and gang related violence. We have also seen the age of gang ‘members’ lowering and the impact it has on our schools increasing, with teachers being subjected to violence and non-members loosing out on valued teaching hours due to extra attention being required to tackle these problems (WGSS, 1996). However, to begin to address the issues of gangs we must first look at the members themselves and how they interact with our community and why. In the essay I plan to look in to some of the reasons why so many youths feel they can identify with this lifestyle and the effect this has on our Education system. To finish conclude I will then suggest possible ways in which our education system could adapt in order to handle this growing and often threatening culture and compare this to some successful international schemes we have witnessed in the past (Kennedy, Braga & Piechl, 2001).

To begin with, I think it is imperative to outline the reasons as to why so many young Britons seek the sense of belonging they achieve once initiated into a gang. With Sir Ian Blair stating “We need to find out what makes people feel safer in a gang then out of one”, it is no secret that these members actively seek out places in the community where they feel they can identify with their peers while gaining respect (CITE). One reason behind this longing to belong may be put down to child neglect; although a child may be seen to be attending school, have well-fitting, clean clothes and appears hygienic and healthy this does not mean he or she are receiving proper love, encouragement and support at home. Learning theorist such as (??) BETTLEHEIM. WINNICOTT ?? TALK TO ME NOT SURE. Suggest that without fulfilling all the emotional needs of a being a person is unable to progress and thus lacks in cognitive development causing them to have minimal social and academic intelligence (CITE). This may offer explanations into why so many young gang affiliated teens do poorly at school and why it is they seek out friendships otherwise shunned by their schooling institution (CTE). In other words, it may be time to redefine neglect in the UK (Tang, 2008). This emotional deprivation may take the form of a struggling one-parent home, a lack of understanding of British culture from elders, lack of interest in to a Childs education and so on.

With these said children lacking in social development due to little attention at home it is no surprise that so many succumb when approached by older, authorities gang members who may be offering a ‘family-like’ environment providing things such as security, protection and in some strange forms – love. This is reflected in a study of 641 abused and neglected children carried out by the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, whom interviewed the participants 20 years after the investigations in to their well-being had been closed. The study showed, that out of the 641, a significant amount (especially males) had gone on to present signs of learning difficulties and anti social personality disorder later on in life, providing explanations in to why we are seeing such erratic behavior from teen-boys emerged in gang culture as a result of child neglect (Horwitz, Spatz, McLaughlin & White, 2001). GOOD

In addition, my reading suggests to me that the majority of these children/gang members are not just being neglected at home but are in fact being ignored by the government and policy makers with youth centres and after school...
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