Media coverage of ‘county lines’ and drug gangs usually focuses on the danger and lawlessness involved, policing issues and the negative impact such activities are said to have on families and communities. Seldom do we get discussions about the complex, deeper motives for young men’s involvement. Until now.
Through an ethnographic exploration of what disadvantaged urban men in multi-ethnic neighbourhoods call ‘trap life’, researcher Ebony Reid (2023) has recently shown how different ‘trapper’ identities are assumed by these young men to try to manage their economic, social and psychological vulnerability. This helps to explain, she claims, their varied motivations for taking part in dangerous criminality and violence.
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