Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: November 23, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412959193 | Print ISBN: 9781412959186 | Online ISBN: 9781412959193| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Thrasher, Frederick M.: The Gang
John M. Hagedorn
Frederick M. Thrasher was one of Robert Park and Ernest Burgess's students in the 1920s Sociology Department of the University of Chicago. His dissertation, The Gang: A Study of 1313 Gangs in Chicago , became the seminal work on the topic and theoretically his group process perspective remains influential today. Other University of Chicago dissertations in those years include studies on The Hobo by Nels Anderson, The Gold Coast and the Slum by Harvey Zorbaugh, and The Black Family by E. Franklin Frazier. With other studies and dissertations, these works formed the distinctive style and perspective that composed the Chicago School of Sociology. Thrasher's work exemplifies three linked strengths and weaknesses of the Chicago School: (1) an ecological but ethnically neutral theory; (2) a lack of analysis of girls’ lives; and (3) an understanding of male gang and delinquent behavior based in spontaneity, social disorganization, and group process. Thrasher cast ...