Thug Criminology: A Call to Action

Ellis, Adam; Marques, Olga and Gunter, Anthony eds. (2023). Thug Criminology: A Call to Action. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.



Thug Criminology combines the urgent and as yet silenced voices of former gang/street-involved peoples turned academics, alongside their allies, in order to challenge and disrupt mainstream and academic knowledge about urban youth gangs specifically, and the "streets" more broadly. The book questions how the "streets" – and the racialized and marginalized urban communities who inhabit them – are researched, taught, and subsequently politicized. It looks at who gets to produce such knowledge, who benefits from such knowledge, and whose voices are privileged within dominant academic and public policy discourses. Drawing on decolonizing methodologies, the book seeks to give voice to scholars with lived experience of a "street" or gang life. Adam Ellis, Olga Marques, and Anthony Gunter reclaim the terms thug and gang to reconstruct the narrative around street-involved youth – seeing them not as criminals but rather as survivors of historical oppression and trauma. Challenging the colonial structure of criminology and other disciplines that focus on street crime, Thug Criminology aims to disrupt and disentangle the knowledge that has been produced on gangs and urban violence.

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