Gangster Anthropologist

Jorja Leap / Youth violence researcher / University of California, Los Angeles

What’s her deal? Jorja Leap immersed herself in the culture of Los Angeles’ notorious street gangs for over 10 years, interviewing and working with hundreds of active and former gang members.

Isn’t that dangerous? “I started out in the late 1970s as this skinny little white social worker going into the projects.” When she returned to the streets years later as an anthropologist, former gang members she knew accompanied and vouched for her. “I’ve been in dangerous situations, but always felt very protected.”

Complicating personal detail: Husband is a former LAPD deputy chief. “He wanted me to stop my work because he felt it wasn’t safe. And gang members would plant stories with me to see if I would take them back to him.” It took time to get everyone’s trust. “Things got better after he retired.”

Surprising research finding #1: The further up someone is in the gang hierarchy the better their chances of going straight. “A shot caller in a gang has a much greater chance to be a leader in mainstream life. They may be semiliterate high school dropouts, but a lot of them are very smart. The same skills that elevated them in the neighborhood will help them succeed elsewhere. The neighborhood recognizes talent, make no mistake.”

Watch Jorja Leap on the anthropology of gangs

Surprising research finding #2: “There’s an emerging group of lesbians integrated into gang structure. Gangs do abuse women—there’s trafficking, there’s domestic violence, there’s rape. But in addition to that, women are taking increasingly active roles, especially lesbians. They’re often very active and engaged in violence. What’s amazing is that the homophobia does not extend to them.”

….

Read the rest of the article at Pacific Standard Magazine

Written by

Read Related Articles

Anthropology under attack

Pacific-Standard Magazine

One of Library Journal’s Best Magazines of 2008, Miller-McCune not only identifies policy issues of global important but provides evidence-based solutions offered by academic research and real-world models. Through excellent but understandable writing and proven judgment in what to cover, the nonprofit Miller-McCune has received a surprising amount of acclaim and, more importantly, a large and growing audience interested in the social and natural sciences.

2
Leave a Reply

avatar
2 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
“I became a scholar in order to become a better activist”בוטוקס בבית שחי Recent comment authors

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
trackback

[…] Gangster Anthropologist […]

trackback

בוטוקס בבית שחי…

… בוטוקס מחירים – במהלך הניתוח מוסרת שכבת עור עליונה ונעשה שיוף של עצם הלסת. חומר הבוטוקס והרופא המטפל הוא קריטי כיוון שחשוב לעשות את הצעד הבא. לייזר ו ipl – ניתן לטפל קמטים ובפיגמנטציה גם… Gangster Anthropologist ……

Skip to toolbar