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Gang Behavior and Movies: Do Hollywood Gang Films Influence Violent Gang Behavior?

NCJ Number
Journal of Gang Research Volume: 12 Issue: 2 Dated: Winter 2005 Pages: 41-71
Chris J. Przemieniecki
Date Published
31 pages
This study examined the possible relationship between gang-related movies and gang behavior.
Youth gangs have been a part of American society since the early 19th century, consisting of various ethnic and racial groups and perceived as delinquent and criminal. Gang-related movies date back to as early as the 1930's. Research is limited on its examination of the possible relationship of movies to gang violence. The question to ask is what impact do gang-related movies have on youth gang violence? However, the primary question is whether gang members learn the acts of violence in the gang-related movies or the movie itself is a reflection of the current gang behavior. This qualitative descriptive analysis examined the plausible explanation for the influences that gang movies have on gang-related behaviors. It was hypothesized that gang behavior, either physical or verbal, is learned from Hollywood’s depiction of gang-related films. The study methodology consisted of an analysis of newspaper reports, interviews with law enforcement officials, and current and former gang members. In this analysis, social learning, differential association and instigation theory are theoretical explanations used to explain the association between gang behavior and the viewing of gang movies. The analysis made it clear that while Hollywood is simply providing a gang story, these films may be doing more damage than good. References