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Episode 138 - Dr. Robert Duran: "Smile Now, Cry Later": Gang Life - An Insider's Journey

Monday, March 03, 2014, 8:54:16 AM

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In this episode, Dr. Robert Duran discusses what he has learned in 20 years of being involved in, observing, and researching gangs. His unique perspective lends him multiple lenses to inform and challenge conventional wisdom related to what gangs offer their members, the contexts in which they form, and what holds them together.

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Average Rating: 5 stars (2 listener reviews )

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Average Rating: 5stars  great podcast!, Wednesday, April 17, 2019

By Julio Ramirez :

This podcast was very interesting. It looked at the importance of understanding gang life not just from the outside looking in. Dr. Duran brought his perspective of growing up in gang life and now studying it, and seeing it's importance for these communities. Gang life seems to be something that is meant to unite members of a community. People often hope to find people with similar interests and ideals and that is essentially what gang life is. It is important to look at the cultural aspects of gang life and how it is often those who are oppressed who feel connected in a gang and find their own community within that. It is important also for law enforcement to look not only at the surface of gang life, but to look beyond what we think of gangs and look at why they form and what they may be experiencing in their communities. the podcast also advocates for different forms of expression for members of marginalized groups and encourages leaving the ganglife in order to seek better ways to advocate and be seen. Overall, as someone who group up in a community ridden with gangs such as the Latin Kingz and MS13, i learned a lot about what these gangs are experiencing and why they form and the family they create within the gang. The podcast looks at gang life from different views and it really sheds light on the hardships of gang life as oppose to just violence and money.


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Average Rating: 5stars  podcast #138 review, Monday, February 02, 2015

By Zoe G.S :

This podcast on gang life with Robert Duran is a particularly special one. Not only is Dr. Duran an expert in this field, but he himself grew up in a gang, and has had firsthand experiences with this lifestyle, giving him an insider’s perspective. Dr. Duran is able to give listeners two perspectives to learn from; that of someone who has spent time researching gang history, and the other from someone who has actually experienced the appeal of gang life. Dr. Duran touches upon the fact that many of today’s urban experts and researchers, have done their research on gangs from afar. The importance of his work is that he understands gang life firsthand. He discusses how gangs historically form in the face of poverty and oppression. When people feel misunderstood by society they often will strive to seek out those like them. I think it is an innate human desire to find their social niche and be amongst others who understand them. And this plays an influential role in how gangs are formed. He also discussed how gang involvement is often looked at through a law enforcement lens. Society is more focused on criminalizing gang members, than actually stopping gang involvement with treatment. I think this is an important idea to keep in mind for social workers, because we have the ability to help change the way in which society looks at helping groups such as gangs. If there is a shift in how society works with gangs, perhaps that could help ameliorate gang difficulties in certain areas. Overall, this podcast was extremely eye opening and informative. Growing up in rural Vermont, most of what I knew about these groups were from TV shows and movies, neither very credible sources. Dr. Duran’s research, as well as personal anecdotes, really helped to shape my understanding of gang life. Listening to this podcast was more like listening to someone’s own personal story as opposed to just their research, and I think that is what makes it a really great listen.

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