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An introduction to the sociology of gangs, focusing on the historical development of gangs in New Zealand and the methods which have been taken to control them.
This course will examine the rise and development of gangs in New Zealand, as well as the internal and external forces that have influenced their evolution.Robbery, rape, murder, organised crime: the public face of gangs is synonymous with these activities. But the general public’s impression of gangs is superficial and largely mythical. Until recently, little in fact has been known about the reality of gangs, about their internal dynamics, or about how they emerged and developed in this country. SOCI293, taught by New Zealand’s leading gang authority, will trace the history of New Zealand gangs as well as the plethora of policy measures and laws that have been enacted to counter them. It will examine international gang research as well as important local concepts such as ‘blue vision’, ‘intimate escalation’ and the ‘gang-community balance’. Because gangs everywhere have evolved within unique social, economic and political contexts, it will become clear that a full understanding of gangs cannot be achieved without an appreciation of the unique historical, social and political contexts in which they were born and nurtured.
Primarily, students of this course will gain a comprehensive understanding of gangs and gang related issues in New Zealand. Despite an extensive body of overseas scholarly literature, the topic of gangs has hardly been addressed in this country. SOCI 293 examines the broad factors that influence gangs, underscoring the essential need to take a holistic view them and the society within which they exist.The theoretical components of the course, relating to both gang development and the factors behind it, will encourage students to engage with a difficult subject in a creative, logical and sophisticated manner. Moreover, it will impress upon them the need to challenge conventional ‘wisdom’ when that wisdom is not supported by facts. By looking at issues such as gang policy and gang control measures, students in this course will gain vocationally-relevant competency in a number of areas, including policy development, policing, social work, and law. In this way, graduates will gain practical knowledge that will advantage them in a number of career paths.A further learning outcome will stem from interrogating the many issues facing researchers conducting studies in difficult areas. Gaining access, collecting data, handling oneself in the field, and staying safe are all important considerations for budding ethnographers.Finally, and importantly, the course will address the issue of research ethics, and will examine the often difficult balance between collecting data and protecting sources.
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Either 15pts of 100 level SOCI with B+ grade or better; or 30pts of 100 level SOCI or LAWS101 or LAWS 150/CRJU101. Alternatively students with a B average or better in 60 pts in related subjects may be admitted.
Patched : the history of gangs in New Zealand;
Auckland University Press, 2013.
Essay boxes are located on the ground floor of the Geography - Psychology building (car park entrance)
Assignment Sheet Cover
Referencing for Sociology
Using EndNote for referencing
Writing guides for Sociology
Readings will be available on Learn
Domestic fee $670.00
International fee $2,850.00
* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.
This course will not be offered if fewer than 20 people apply to enrol.
For further information see
Language, Social and Political Sciences.