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Summary of Article on Street Gangs

The American Journal of Family Therapy article “A systemic analysis of the Dynamics and Organization of urban street gangs” by Ruble and Turner thoroughly examines the complex dynamics and management of street gangs in urban settings. The authors argue that the extensive social system of street gangs is not only a function of a person’s pathology but is formed by broader societal systems using a systemic strategy (Ruble & Turner, 2000). According to their claims, street gangs are adaptive systems that react to shifting environmental conditions.

The author’s central claim is that gangs significantly affect the everyday activities of their members by giving them a sense of rank, security, and belonging. The authors warn that gang membership’s benefits come at a significant price, including engagement in crime, drug usage, and violence. It demonstrates the complex nature of gangs, in which the benefits of participation are frequently entwined with drawbacks. It indicates that there are benefits and drawbacks to partaking in gangs. The advantages and disadvantages are often linked or associated with one another. For instance, if you work on a project, you learn excellent skills and experience, but you also have to work a lot of overtime and deal with challenging individuals.

The article gives an exhaustive examination of the organizational structure of street gangs. It provides deep and in-depth research on street gang organization. It covers every facet of the hierarchical structure of the organization, encompassing communication, membership, and leadership. The essay also goes over the workings of street gangs and how they relate to other social groups. It offers an in-depth comprehension of them, clarifying the functions of their leaders, military personnel, and allies. Contrary to popular belief, the authors contend that street gang leadership is widely accepted by many people, suggesting that the gang structure is not rigid but flexible and dynamic. This understanding highlights the intricate power relationships inside gangs and undermines the conventional ideas of one dominant leader.

The article’s conclusion covers the significance of such results for family therapists who deal with kids associated with gangs. The authors contend that to succeed in working with adolescents related to gangs and their loved ones, family therapists need to have an in-depth awareness of the intricate social structures of street gangs. Therapists should work to identify and constructively treat these fundamental desires as gangs serve specific requirements for their members. The authors also contend that family therapists can be crucial in helping young people involved in gangs locate alternative networks for help and existing in the outer community.

The hierarchical composition of street gangs is a complex issue often overlooked. It is essential to understand that gang conduct is not just the product of individual deviation but is also influenced by larger social structures. The authors Coughlin and Venkatesh (2003) highlight this in their research. It summarises the evolution and history of urban street gangs in the US since 1970. They argue that street gangs are not just a collection of individuals but are organized hierarchically. This hierarchy can significantly impact the origins and operations of street gangs.

Furthermore, Coughlin and Venkatesh (2003) stress the significance of using an integrated strategy. This strategy recognizes the complexity of gangs and aims to address the root causes of gang involvement. By doing so, it is possible to reduce gang activity and improve public safety.

In general, the article by Ruble and Turner contributes significantly to our comprehension of urban street gangs by providing a holistic examination of their behaviors and structure. The paper highlights the necessity for comprehensive therapies that consider the complex interaction of personal, inherited, and societal variables by identifying the elaborate social networks inside gangs and their impact on the daily affairs of those involved. Future measures aiming at lowering gang involvement and encouraging healthier choices for at-risk kids will be informed by the findings of this research.


Coughlin, B. C., & Venkatesh, S. A. (2003). The urban street gang after 1970. Annual Review of Sociology29(1), 41-64.

Ruble, N. M., & Turner, W. L. (2000). A systemic analysis of the dynamics and organization of urban street gangs. The American Journal of Family Therapy28(2), 117-132.


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