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Stepchildren of the Revolution: The comparative ethnography of gang dynamics in Nicaragua and South Africa

Strand Campus , London

4 Jul SSSAfricaMAIN

Speaker: Professor Dennis Rodgers (Graduate Institute, Geneva) 

Chair: Dr Kieran Mitton

This presentation will detail preliminary results of an ethnographic comparison of gang dynamics in Nicaragua and South Africa by Professor Dennis Rodgers (Graduate Institute, Geneva) and Professor Steffen Jensen (Aalborg University, Denmark), being carried out under the auspices of the European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant-funded project “Gangs, Gangsters, and Ganglands: Towards a Global Comparative Ethnography” (GANGS). It draws on a systematized consideration of our respective individual trajectories of over 20 years of longitudinal ethnographic research in Nicaragua (by Rodgers) and South Africa (by Jensen), as well as the insights gleaned from the first of four joint cross-site research visits to Nicaragua and South Africa that are taking place in 2019 and 2020.

The presentation explores both the nature of ethnographic comparison as well as the empirical similarities and differences noted between gang dynamics in the two contexts, and offers preliminary conceptual thoughts as to how to interpret these, both with respect to broader contextual factors as well as from the perspective of individual life histories.

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