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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Unmaking of a Gangbanger: The Role of Krump Dancing in Understanding Nonviolent Practices Among Inner City Youth

  • Author(s): Jackson, Sharmaine Tia
  • Advisor(s): Snow, David A.
  • et al.

Gang violence and youth delinquency remain constant topics of research and discussion among social scientists. What fails to be highlighted among inner city youth are practices of nonviolence, compassion and trust. Krump dancing provides a case where inner city youth use street based tools to improve their lives. This study relies on 16 months of participant observations and in-depth interviews among krump dancers living in South Los Angeles. To understand how krump dancing is transmitted and interpreted outside of the US, I conducted three months of participant observations and in-depth interviews among krump dancers, in Melbourne, Australia. Drawing from the structures of the violent street gang, inner city youth build families, manage conflict, and cope with emotional pain and rage. Through their street experiences and identities, inner city youth create an alternative practice to the violent street gang. In doing so, they retain their street character, while demonstrating how street and decent are not mutually exclusive practices.

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