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Gangs, guns and the city: urban policy in dangerous places

Jones, Gareth A. ORCID: 0000-0001-9844-4547 and Rodgers, Dennis (2015) Gangs, guns and the city: urban policy in dangerous places. In: Lemanski, Charlotte and Marx, Colin, (eds.) The City in Urban Poverty. EADI global development series. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, UK, pp. 205-226. ISBN 9781137367433

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Identification Number: 10.1057/9781137367433.0016


There is growing interest in the impact of violence on development and on ‘security’ as a policy response. But, academics and policy institutions seem split on how to approach cities, either ignoring them completely or representing them as inherently violent spaces. Yet historically, many people across the world have moved to cities – and continue to do so – for safety, and studies have moreover highlighted how there often exist specific patterns regarding who perpetrates violence, who are its victims, and where violence takes place in cities. To consider this putative paradox, this chapter draws inspiration from two sources. First, we consider the ways in which urban contexts have been considered in relation to major violence reduction and pacification processes. The city has arguably become a key site for contemporary innovations in “security governance” by both public and private agencies, yet it is generally not recognised as anything other than an unproblematic spatial locale. Second, we problematise universalising assumptions about cities, more specifically considering research on gangs, in order to expose how “urban violence” is generally predicated on quite specific conditions that pertain to social, political and economic conditions within cities, which often manifest themselves in particular spatial urban configurations. A final section offers some tentative conclusions.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 The Author
Divisions: Geography & Environment
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2015 13:27
Last Modified: 19 Sep 2021 23:07

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