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"You In or Out?: Reflecting on Positionality in Gang Research" (by Sou Lee and John Leverso): Review 2

Published onJul 16, 2023
"You In or Out?: Reflecting on Positionality in Gang Research" (by Sou Lee and John Leverso): Review 2

Vote: Publish pending minor changes

The article is well-organized and well-written. It makes substantive contributions to the scholarship of criminological research methodology. The incorporation of the two authors' experiences (as opposed to if there were only one) provides helpful juxtapositions and greatly enriches the analysis. The bibliography appears adequate. A few things might further strengthen the article:

The authors’ discussion of Data Interpretation could go a bit deeper. I’m thinking, for example, of how insider-outsider positionality in gang research might factor into the kinds of methodological and analytic debates engaged by Loïc Wacquant and Elijah Anderson in “Scrutinizing the Street: Poverty, Morality, and the Pitfalls of Urban Ethnography” and “The Ideologically Driven Critique,” respectively. For example, how might gang outsider-insider positionality shape one’s stance on whether the role of the researcher is to function as a vessel for reproducing the worldview of the research community (Anderson) or to interpret and make new sense of those realities, even if doing so may contradict the lay interpretations of participants (Wacquant)? This is just one example of how the Data Interpretation section might be strengthened.

In addition, the authors should add a final section following Data Interpretation to address how these lessons might be fruitfully incorporated into the writing, publication, and dissemination of gang scholarship. How do these kinds of considerations appear in the extant gang scholarship? How might they be incorporated in novel or innovative ways moving forward?

It would also be helpful if the authors compared their findings with those of existing scholarship. This could happen within each findings section or in the Discussion and Conclusions section. They effectively describe the extant research in the literature review, but following up as the paper proceeds or in a discussion toward the end would help better clarify their conceptual interventions and how they fit within this literature.

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