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.
- group offending
- social relations