MetaTOC stay on top of your field, easily

God’s gangs: barrio ministry, masculinity, and gang recovery, by Edward Orozco Flores

Crime, Law and Social Change

Published online on


In God’s Gangs, Edward Orozco Flores draws on 18 months of fieldwork in two outreach organizations with “recovering” gang members from Los Angeles barrio and working-class Latino neighborhoods. Los Angeles, with its dubious title as the “gang capital” of the U.S., has a much-studied history of gangs—particularly Latino gangs—that stretches back to the Great Depression (Bogardus 1943; Klein 1971; Moore 1978; Vigil 1988). Flores contributes to this history in an important way with his focus on disengagement from gangs, what he terms “gang recovery,” an area of gang research that has exploded in just the last 5 years.

What differentiates God’s Gangs from the extant literature is how Flores weaves together themes of masculinity, religion, immigration, and marginalization to guide readers through the transformation from “shaved” (i.e., active gang member) to “saved” (i.e., former gang member). Religion and the faith-based practices of the two outreach organizations are doing the heavy liftin ...