AbstractThe research of Palmas is rigorous and novel, shedding light on processes of the state and state agents vis a vis the gang and its social control in two distinctly different domains, Madrid and Barcelona? But what is the essential problematic that Palmas is investigating? And how can we learn from the analysis that Palmas has presented? To me this study poses five key questions at the forefront of the global gang phenomenon. First, there is the issue of public space in a capitalist society where developers and their bankers are claiming urban spaces as part of a privatizing dynamic conditioned by the violent laws of the accumulation of capital. Second, there is the problem of what do with working-class youth in a neo-liberal political economy where the state is no longer functioning to stimulate employment or provide the services and educational supports customary in social democratic societies. Third, is the issue of global and globalized labor and the problems of integration for the transnational progeny of the laboring classes. Fourth, is the issue of (criminal) justice and social control in an age of punishment and social exclusion amid the overdetermining culture of capitalist consumerism. Fifth, is the continuous emergence of youth subcultures that develop out of the contradictions presented above and are forms of both resistance and accommodation to the everyday challenges presented by these contradictions. I describe each of these issues and briefly discuss them in relationship to Palmas’s innovative treatment.
Keywords: Capitalism; Criminal Justice; Gangs; Public Space; Youth Subcultures.