LONELINESS & GANGSA Place to Belong
Gangs are a direct outcome for the need to belong.
It is proven, survival among social mammals is greatly enhanced when they are bonded within a pack. Isolated animals are most likely to be picked off by predators, or to starve.
Gangs on a basic level provide a solution to the loneliness and deprivation that exists in some young peoples lives.
There is a sense of safety in the knowledge that if they are ever harmed by another individual or group, the members of their gang will retaliate.
There is a sense of safety in knowing you belong somewhere, even if it doesn’t always benefit your life.
Unconditional acceptance and inclusion within a gang provides a sense of identity, self worth and image.
Schools and society aim to shame young people in gangs and tempt them away from “anti-social behavior”, however the alternative is to enter institutionalised systems in which they are usually judged, ignored and rejected anyway.
Young people from underprivileged backgrounds have a complex series of issues to navigate through.
Apart from their own sense of identity in the world, they are struggling with the demands of the modern labour market, which will affect their parents and therefore the general quality of their lives.
Parents on low incomes are more likely to work night shifts and weekends, exposed to higher levels of stress and unable to provide stimulation and guidance when not available.
Without support from family and friends, some young people can quickly feel discarded by society very early into their young adulthood as there is a real contradiction between societies ideals and the individual experience – a hole in the net that fails to provide connection to our modern human experience.
We are looking for people who are interested in writing more about these issues as we believe it is crucial in understanding the possibilities of empowering young people instead of labeling them.