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A critical exploration of why some individuals with similar backgrounds do or do not become involved in deviant street groups and the potential implications for their future life choices.Corteen, Karen M.; Morley, Sharon; Boran, Anne; Garratt, Dean; Hesketh, Robert F. (University of Chester, 2018-08-30)This thesis will primarily address the issue of street gang involvement and non-involvement in gang prevalent areas of Merseyside. Specifically, it will address why some individuals with similar backgrounds do or do not become involved in deviant street groups and the potential implications for their future life choices. Reporting for the Early Intervention Foundation (EIF) Cordis Bright Consulting (2015) have observed that when assessing young people bout whom there is concern because of violence and street gang involvement, practitioners should consider both risk and protective factors in five key domains: individual, peers, community, school and family. In determining the vulnerability and resilience of young people to gang membership on Merseyside, the study attempted to identify prominent variables within each of these domains and the research was undertaken with participants from a variety of marginalised locations of Merseyside. The study applied a hybrid approach consisting of Biographical Narrative Interpretive Method (BNIM, Wengraf, 2001) as the means of data collection with Grounded Theory (GT) as the form of analysis (Strauss and Corbin, 1990). Two samples of participants were drawn from marginalised areas of Merseyside consisting of a total of 44 males age range 18-25 (one consisting of 26 gang involved participants (termed Deviant Street Group Members (DSGs)), and the second containing 11 non-gang participants (termed ‘Non-group Participants’ (NGPs) and 7 individuals identified as ex-gang participants (termed ‘ExDeviant Street Group participants’ (EDSGMs)). The findings draw attention to the considerable amount of social commentary and government policy that has intensified, pathologised and problemised the issue of gangs, gang membership and gang non-membership in the United Kingdom (UK). Moreover, they identify the effects of marginalisation and limited opportunity as the over-riding protagonists and highlight how young disenfranchised people, some more resilient than others cope with growing up in marginalised areas of Merseyside. In particular, contrary to the EIF’s observations that “family and peer group risk factors are not found to be strongly associated with gang membership as individual risk factors” (2015, p. 7), the study finds evidence that quality of parenting by fathers/father figures (family domain) and friendship networks (peer domain) together with the development of social capital can be key variables in the decision to become involved in or abstain from gang membership on Merseyside. Other factors identified, include the application of demonising government policies, the existence of edgework risk taking including criminal eroticism (individual domain) in young men and the impact of social migration (neighbourhood domain) on the decision to become involved, disengage or completely abstain from gangs was also noted to be significant.