UC launches paper on gangs for second semester

01 July 2013

The University of Canterbury will launch a course on New Zealand gangs in the second semester starting 8 July.

The University of Canterbury will launch a course on New Zealand gangs in the second semester starting 8 July.

The paper, "The Rise and Development of Gangs in New Zealand", will be taught within the College of Arts and will look not just at the history of gangs in New Zealand, but the social and economic conditions that have allowed them to form and evolve. 

Professor Beth Hume, the head of UC’s School of Social and Political Sciences, says gangs represent a number of social problems in New Zealand.

"By learning about gangs, students will get a vital look at a complex sub-culture of New Zealand. It is a perfect springboard to gain sociological understanding about many important issues," Professor Hume says.

Based on research undertaken by Dr Jarrod Gilbert, whose book Patched: The History of Gangs in New Zealand has become a best seller, it is the first university course of its kind in New Zealand.

"I'm excited by the course and being the lecturer for it. It's an incredibly interesting and important subject and it offers a window into a world most New Zealanders know very little about," Dr Gilbert says.

"I did my research at UC and I'm pleased to be back to impart that knowledge to students who can expect to be challenged intellectually. They will learn how to do research in thought-provoking areas and I might also bring in a couple of gang members for a lecture just to keep things real.

"By looking at legislative, social and psychological approaches to solving issues around gangs, the course will offer practical skills that will be useful in numerous occupations such as in law, policy development, social work or the police."

While the paper will initially be counted toward an arts degree, it is envisaged that it will also be taught toward a newly-proposed criminal justice degree.

Dr Gilbert’s book sold out after five days in April. A reprint is back on the bookshelves. The popularity of the book and its acceptance by gang members and police alike is clear testament to the comprehensive and measured way in which Dr Gilbert carried out his years of research and transmitted his findings into print.

 

For further information please contact:
Kip Brook
Media Consultant
Student Services and Communications
University of Canterbury
Ph: (03) 364 3325
Mobile: 027 5030 168
kip.brook@canterbury.ac.nz

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