Uni offers up gang member's lessons

Last updated 15:25 29/06/2013

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Patched gang members could be teaching university students how to "keep it real", once Canterbury University introduces a new paper on gangs in New Zealand.

The paper, The Rise and Development of Gangs in New Zealand, will be taught within the College of Arts from the start of the second semester on July 8.

Professor Beth Hume said it would look not just at the history of gangs in New Zealand, but the social and economic conditions that have allowed them to form and evolve.  

Hume, who is heads Canterbury University's School of Social and Political Sciences, said gangs were an indicator of a number of social problems in New Zealand.

The paper will be based on research undertaken by Dr Jarrod Gilbert, whose book Patched: The history of gangs in New Zealand has become a best seller.

It is the first university course of its kind in New Zealand. Gilbert would lecture the course and said he was excited to teach the subject.

"It's an incredibly interesting and important subject and it offers a window into a world most New Zealanders know very little about.

"They [students] will learn how to do research in thought-provoking areas and I might also bring in a couple of gang members for a lecture just to keep things real," Gilbert said.

"By looking at legislative, social and psychological approaches to solving issues around gangs, the course will offer practical skills that will be useful in numerous occupations such as in law, policy development, social work or the police.''

The paper would initially count toward an Arts degree, but could also be part of a new criminal justice degree being proposed by the University.

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