Journal article

Narratives of Gang Disengagement Among Former Gang Members in South Africa

Research Areas

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Publication Details

Author list: Kelly JF, Ward CL

Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)

Publication year: 2020

Journal: Criminal Justice and Behavior

Volume number: XX

Issue number: X

Start page: 1

End page: 20

Total number of pages: 20

ISSN: 0093-8548

eISSN: 1552-3594


Understanding gang disengagement is important for the development of effective interventions. This research sought to examine how former South African gang members understand their gang disengagement. Two rounds of life history interviews were conducted with 12 former gang members. Thematic narrative analysis was used to analyze the interview data. Findings revealed that personal agency was key to the participants’ disengagement, which included forming a purposive intention to change, committing to and maintaining this change, despite challenges faced, and taking personal responsibility for their pasts. It also involved actively drawing on protective resources—such as meaningful and practical support from loved ones—and prosocial identities available to them within their environments, thus illustrating how the disengagement process is an interaction between inner and outer resources. Therefore, it is imperative that gang


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Last updated on 2021-06-03 at 08:36