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God's GangsBarrio Ministry, Masculinity, and Gang Recovery$
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Edward Orozco Flores

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9781479850099

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9781479850099.001.0001

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From Shaved to Saved

From Shaved to Saved

Embodied Gang Recovery

(p.168) 6 From Shaved to Saved
God's Gangs

Edward Orozco Flores

NYU Press

This chapter extends the analysis of reformulated Chicano gang masculinity to body and bodily practices, filling a theoretical gap in the masculinities and crime literature. Recovery offers embodied practices that facilitate the construction of reformed barrio masculinity. In turn, as recovering gang members attempt to leave gang life, they learn how to embody reformed barrio masculinity in such a way that prevents transgressions into gang behavior. Both Homeboy Industries and Victory Outreach made use of embodied practices that reformulated Chicano gang masculinity and facilitated gang recovery. Leaders in gang recovery urged members to grow their hair out, remove gang tattoos, and dress with form-fitting khakis. These malleable, physical markings of gang life are referred to as soft embodiment. Theologies of gang recovery facilitated practices that reshaped and redirected soft embodiment, but also redirected hard embodiment—the permanent, physical markings of gang life that can lead to gang behavior.

Keywords:   gang recovery, Chicano gang masculinity, embodied practices, reformed barrio masculinity, gang life, gang behavior, soft embodiment, hard embodiment

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