The street casino : survival in the violent street gang


Harding, S. 2014. The street casino : survival in the violent street gang. Bristol Policy Press.
TitleThe street casino : survival in the violent street gang
AuthorsHarding, S.

Gang violence is continually on the increase. There is an urgent need for a fresh perspective offering insight into gang structure, organisation, offending behaviour and gang violence to explain this increase. Using the findings from an extensive ethnographic study of local residents, professionals and gang members in South London, and drawing on his vast experience and knowledge of the field, Simon Harding proposes an unique theoretical perspective on survival in violent street gangs. He applies Bourdieu’s principles of social field analysis and habitus to gangs, establishing them as a social arena of competition where actors struggle for distinction and survival; where young people play in the Casino of Life striving to become Players in The Game. Success is determined by accruing and retaining playing chips – street capital. Harding’s dramatic and compelling insights depict gang life as one of constant flux, where Players jostle for position, reputation, status and distinction. This perspective offers new evidence to the field that will help academics, students, practitioners and policymakers understand gang behaviour, dynamics, affiliation and risks in inner city areas.

PublisherPolicy Press
Place of publicationBristol
Publication dates
Print11 Jun 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Mar 2015
Output statusPublished
Additional information

Winner of the ​​Frederick Milton Thrasher award for Superior Gang Research 2014

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