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Evil doers from the 'hood or disenfranchised citizens? A critical analysis of the media representation of the MS-13 gang

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posted on 2021-06-08, 10:07 authored by Elena Megas
In the past decade and a half, the criminalization of MS-13 gang members in public discourse has operated to further marginalize and criminalize underprivileged urban youth, a segment of the populace already ridden by high levels of socio-economic exclusion. Using Fairclough’s critical discourse analysis method, this study explores the social construction MS-13 gang affiliated youth in mainstream media in Canada, the United States, and El Salvador. This study indicates that while the current gang research is becoming more critical, conceptualizing gangs as a crystallization of broader societal problems, the social construction of MS-13 gang members as permanent criminals is still predominant, as it circulates through all of the selected media. The criminalizing representation of MS-13 gang members has significant implications, as it justifies increasingly punitive policing strategies, which in turn validate the vilified construction of gang-affiliated youth, thus creating a vicious cycle in which gang members are deemed irremediable criminals.

History

Language

eng

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Immigration and Settlement Studies

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

MRP

Thesis Advisor

Henry Parada Vappu Tyyskä