Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Race War? Inter-Racial Conflict Between Black and Latino Gang Members in Los Angeles County
by Weide, Robert Donald, Ph.D., New York University, 2015, 510; 3685926
Abstract (Summary)

Using an interdisciplinary critical theoretical approach and a mixed qualitative and quantitative methodology this research project aims to better understand the racial identities and perceptions of gang members and the causes of inter-minority racialized gang conflict in Los Angeles County and California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). The research methodology for this project consists of two years of ethnographic fieldwork, one hundred formal interviews, and statistical analysis using the interview data, census data, and data from CDCR. Existing research and theoretical perspectives that could account for inter-minority racialized gang conflict in Los Angeles are analyzed within this historical context, and evaluated against the qualitative and quantitative data produced by this research project and provided by existing demographic data sets. Both existing and novel theoretical perspectives are applied, which tie racialized gang conflict in Los Angeles in with larger macro-historical structures.

The project begins by analyzing the historical background of racial conflict between blacks and Latinos in Los Angeles. The second factor this research examines is the relationship between racial and gang identities and how these amalgamated identities are culturally defined and differentiated between the black and Latino gang communities specifically, and the black and Latino communities at large generally. Third, this research examines the extent of racial bias among and between black and Latino gang populations in Los Angeles County.

The dissertation goes on to examine the history of racialized prison gangs and the trajectory of inter-racial conflict between them in California's prisons, as well as the role that CDCR staff and administration play in provoking and perpetuating inter-racial conflict. Following that, the occurrence of inter-minority gang conflict between specific gangs on the streets of Los Angeles is subjected to an intense micro-analysis of specific conflicts between specific gangs in specific contexts. The proximate causes of specific conflicts are uncovered, and their trajectories are examined and analyzed. Respondents reveal the rules that govern interaction between black and Latino gang members in Los Angeles and California's carceral facilities, as well as the rules of engagement as to how targets are chosen during the course of racialized gang conflicts, and how gangs interpret and respond to the intentional or accidental victimization of innocent residents during the course of these conflicts.

The role local media, politicians and law enforcement officers and administrators play in provoking and perpetuating inter-racial conflicts on the streets of the Los Angeles County is examined. Finally the project concludes with a critical analysis of the role that conflict among and between marginalized criminalized populations both exacerbates and perpetuates their marginalization and criminalization.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Calhoun, Craig, Corradi, Juan
Commitee: Brotherton, David, Goodwin, Jeff, Vigil, James D.
School: New York University
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 76/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Criminology, Urban planning
Keywords: California, Carceral policy, Gangs, Policing, Prison gangs, Racial conflict, Urban history
Publication Number: 3685926
ISBN: 9781321625011
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