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What's in a Name? The Framing of Gang Interventions in a City with No "Gangs"

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Dated: 2023
Date Published

The authors report on their examination, through interviews and focus groups, of an observed contradiction between having a high level of group-based youth violence and stakeholders’ claims denying the presence of gangs; the authors note that their findings have implications for the planning of youth violence interventions.


This study examines an observed contradiction in a city with a high level of group-based youth violence and some juvenile justice stakeholders who deny the presence of gangs. Drawing on interviews and focus groups, the authors use framing theory to understand how definitions of gangs are constructed and contested. They attend to the language and rhetorical strategies used by stakeholders and find two distinct frames at work which the authors call “community health” and “community safety.” Their findings have implications for those planning youth violence interventions or research, as the terminology and framing used during the early stages of these projects can impact the investment of necessary stakeholders as well as outcomes for youth. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2023