The social dynamics of group-offending

Beth Weaver, Alistair Fraser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Theoretical explanations of group-offending have been hindered by a focus on rational-actor models of social relationships. One consequence of this has been a neglect of the dynamics of social relations and their role in group-offending and desistance. Drawing illustratively on two studies conducted in the West of Scotland, this article advances an integrated theoretical framework for the comparative study of group-offending that moves beyond either individualising or 'gang' frames dominating existing discourse, toward a thick understanding of situated social relations. By integrating Bourdieu's concept of habitus with Donati's relational realist framework, this article theoretically and empirically examines the dynamics of group-offending relationships, what shapes them and the way they can, in turn, shape and affect offending and desistance trajectories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalTheoretical Criminology
Early online date16 Jul 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 16 Jul 2021


  • group offending
  • social relations
  • gangs
  • Bourdieu
  • Donati

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