SOCI 615 Gangs, Gangsters and Organized Crime: Constructing and Controlling Public Enemies

Using case studies from Japan (Samurai-to-Tonin-to-Yakuza), the gangster-era United States (1920s and 1930s), modern Colombia (narcotraffice) and Brazil (Favela gangs), and contemporary urban U.S. ethnic gangs, this course explores through text and film, the social construction and social control of groups deemed public enemies. Course analysis uses several theoretical contexts: Social constructionist sociology, theories of political and social power, conceptualizations ethnic stranger/Others, and the role of classification in ordering social worlds. These processes are explained in terms of longer-term historical developments involving constructing and reshaping urban identities, distinguishing urban from rural ones, and the internationalizing of these processes and struggles.

pre-rec: SOCI 304 and SOCI 322 or approval of instructor.