by Marwan MOHAMMED – january 2008
Marwan MOHAMMED is a post-doctoral sociologist at the CESDIP. He recently wrote his doctoral thesis on « The role of families in the forming of youth gangs ». He also co-edited, with Laurent MUCCHIELLI, a volume entitled « Les bandes de jeunes. Des « Blousons Noirs » à nos jours », published by La Découverte.
At the turn of the 21st century, youth gangs have again become an object of societal anxiety, occupying a special place among the different themes forming the magma of concern about crime. Recently (August-September 2007), the media were full of the fights between groups of youths who usually hang out in the La Défense and Gare du Nord areas of Paris. The amount of press received by these violent exchanges may seem surprising. During the same period, several arrests were made in the Val-de-Marne département following a homicide connected with « trouble » (« embrouilles ») between youths from Valenton and Villeneuve-Saint-Georges. Likewise, at the Belle-Épine shopping centre in Thiais (Val-de-Marne), two other youths were seriously injured by sawed-off shotgun shots. Apparently media coverage differs depending on whether these conflicts take place in gentrified Paris or in the anonymous outskirts where everything turns grey.