Cand.ed. Ann-Cathrin Faldet's dissertation for the degree of PhD
The title of the dissertation is:
Girls who perpetrate violence: an empirical study of girls' experiences of gang actiity, Family and schooling.
The topic of thesis Girls who perpetrate violence: An empirical study of girls’ experiences of gang activity, family and schooling is the experiences of and perspectives on violence, friendship, family and schooling of girls who use violence. Four research questions are addressed: 1. How do girls understand their own violent behaviour, and what attitudes do they have towards using violence? 2. How are girls recruited to girl gangs that use violence? 3. What characterizes these gangs with regard to relationships between participants, organization and duration? 4. What meanings and values does participation in a gang involve for the girls?
The thesis is a qualitative study based on in-depth interviews of 13 girls over a period of two to six months. The girls interviewed have used violence together with other girls of the same age, and some have been perceived by the social services as members of a violent girl gang. In addition a group of four experts has been interviewed
The results show that the girls’ violence is rarely unmotivated, and their actions can often be understood as relational rationality. This means that violence can be experienced as rational since it can both strengthen and weaken relationships.
The stories the girls have told indicate that girls who use violence have been exposed to multiple risk factors. Their experiences draw a picture of failure in areas where most girls are successful, i.e. in the family, at school and in relationships with friends. The girls in this project all appeared as characterized by inner tensions and behavioural inconsistency, and their stories are in many ways full of paradoxes. They are girls in trouble, and they make trouble. They can be referred to as “troubled and damaged girls”, but they also cause trouble and harm others. Due to their extreme behaviour they attract considerable attention, but neither their families nor their teachers listen to them or understand their strengths and weaknesses and their individual needs.
The work for this thesis was carried out from 2006 to 2012 at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Special Needs Education, University of Oslo. The project was financed by the City of Oslo, Sagene District, SALTO (Prevention of Crime in Oslo) and by the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion.