Sociologist and author

    Dr. James Densley is Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Metropolitan State University, Minnesota.
teaching and research interests include street gangs, criminal networks, violence, and theoretical criminology.  He is the author of How Gangs Work: An Ethnography of Youth Violence (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and over 20 articles and book chapters.  Densley is also ad hoc contributor to MinnPost, a local nonprofit news organization.
    Densley earned the D.Phil. and M.Sc. in Sociology from the University of Oxford (St. Antony's College), the M.S. in Teaching from Pace University, and the B.A. (Hons.) in Sociology with American Studies from the University of Northampton.  Read an alumni profile here.
Photograph © Amber Procaccini


  • Book Review in The British Journal of Criminology Read Dr. Simon Harding's review of How Gangs Work in the March 2014 edition of the British Journal of Criminology, here. "Densley’s work points the way to how ...
    Posted Feb 8, 2014, 9:00 AM by James Densley
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Recipient of the 2013 National Gang Crime Research Center (NGCRC) Frederick Milton Thrasher Award for "Superior Accomplishments in Gang Research"

From The British Journal of Criminology:

"Densley’s work points the way to how gang research should be done in the future."

"This work is overdue in terms of its contribution to the United Kingdom gang agenda … it moves us back to critical ethnography and first-class fieldwork. In so doing, it extends our understanding of the relationships operating within the gang and offers a well-crafted and highly readable interpretation of their street world."