Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Socially situated identities of gay gang- and crime-involved men
by Panfil, Vanessa R., Ph.D., State University of New York at Albany, 2013, 260; 3603236
Abstract (Summary)

Within the criminological literature, gay men have primarily been portrayed as victims of anti-gay bias crimes or intimate partner violence, or as sex workers and/or drug users. This coverage, which is limited in scope, largely fails to recognize that gay men have agency (choice or power to control the situation). It also provides an incomplete picture regarding gay men's involvement in gangs, violence, and crime. My study of 53 men who identify as gay and who are also members of gangs and/or are involved in criminal activity seeks to fill these gaps in knowledge. The main question I explore in the dissertation is: how do gay gang- and crime-involved men construct and negotiate masculine, gay, and gang and/or criminal identities? In so doing, I will analyze the complex relationships between the commission of particular crimes and/or gang membership and the construction of gay and masculine identities. Indeed, my respondents' narratives were replete with discussions of anti-gay bias crimes, intimate partner violence, involvement in sex work, and drug use (as well as involvement in numerous additional types of criminal activity), but my study moves beyond prior studies by highlighting respondents' agency and critically evaluating the roles of identity in the commission of crimes by gay men. More specifically, I discuss violence as a response to anti-gay harassment and threats of violence; gang experiences, particularly as they are structured by gang sexual orientation composition; and involvement in underground economies, especially as they contribute to masculine identity formation. I utilize data from in-depth, semi-structured interviews and ethnographic fieldnotes to answer these questions. I also include a statement regarding the intersectional concerns I encountered in my data collection, in which I utilize additional data analyses to help structure my discussion. I conclude the dissertation with comments on the state of the field, and implications for research, policy, and practice.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Peterson, Dana
Commitee: Bailey, Frankie, Fader, Jamie J., Miller, Jody
School: State University of New York at Albany
Department: Criminal Justice
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 75/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: GLBT Studies, Criminology, Gender studies
Keywords: Crime, Gang, Gay, Masculinity, Qualitative methods, Violence
Publication Number: 3603236
ISBN: 9781303575952
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