Crime that is organized: A Case Study on Gangs in Chicago's Impoverished Ghetto

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Virginia Tech

In this paper, I argue for a paradigm shift against general social groupings of organized criminal groups operating throughout the United States. Using Social Constructionism to drive a literature review conducted by way of Discourse Analysis, I spotlight ways in which broad characterizations of "organized crime" led to a mis-handling of gang issues today. Through relying on federally-originating definitions and characterizations, law enforcement and welfare agencies are unequipped for understanding the origins of and motives behind modern gangs and their agendas. The second half of this paper is a case study highlighting the different ways in which gangs may develop and operate despite, in the case of Chicago's Black Gangster Disciples Nation and its splinters, a shared history. If we are to reduce the hold these groups have over urban societies, we must first seek to understand each group individually, pulling out the root issues that drive their actions and how they identify as a form of modern organized crime, that is, "crime that is organized."

Chicago, gangs, organized crime, Social Disorganization Theory