Criminology and Criminal Justice

Eurogang Project Summary

 

European youth group violence, in some instances, has assumed qualities more commonly associated with American youth gangs. In response to this new development, a group of European and American researcher convened in a series of meetings and workshops from 1998 onwards to discuss the Eurogang phenomenon. This Eurogang Network seeks to develop a multi-method, multi-national research program that will allow for comparative examination of this important emerging social issue. Importantly, this research and the knowledge-base that comes out of it will help inform prevention and intervention policies to reduce the negative consequences of these increasingly socially excluded and violent youth groups.

Emerging from the European meetings was a consensus calling for a collaborative and comprehensive strategy to develop a better understanding of the diversity of these emergent youth groups. These are the three primary objectives:

  • To build a foundation of knowledge regarding the European socio-economic conditions and institutional processes that foster or curtail the social exclusion and subsequent emergence and persistence/dissolution of youth gangs and problematic groups;
  • To construct an infrastructure for comparative, multi-method, cross-national research on youth violence in group contexts;
  • To disseminate and effectively utilize knowledge to inform the development of effective local, national, and international responses to emerging youth crime and violence issues.

Description of Work

Network activities derive from these knowledge-building, methodological and dissemination objectives:

  • A network of researchers representing national teams will collate extant knowledge about gangs and youth groups in Europe. Researchers and practioner/policy experts will comprise each national team. Outreach efforts will incorporate young researchers and expand each team's composition.
  • The network will establish research priorities and a framework of working groups to address the challenges of multi-method, comparative research.
  • Methodologically focused working groups have developed research protocols to achieve scientifically based comparative data, including ethnographic, expert informant, and survey methods on city/neighborhood, group and individual levels of measurement.
  • Dissemination activities are integrated throughout the network project. Presentations to international forums, as well as national and local meetings, will diffuse accumulated knowledge.