Veje ud af det kriminelle gadeliv

Name of applicant

Hakan Kalkan


University of Copenhagen


DKK 1,224,807



Type of grant

Reintegration Fellowships


The aim of this project is to develop knowledge on desistance from crime among young men from the ethnic minorities, based on the following research question: What enables some young men from the ethnic minorities, some of whom are gang members, to desist from committing crimes, when others do not manage to do so? The project will specifically focus on gaining insights into: 1) social processes related to desistance from crime: 2) the significance of internal/subjective and external/structural factors, for desistance from crime and 3) any variations in the ability to desist from crime among those who are and who are not gang members, and factors related to these variations.


Criminological knowledge on desistance from crime is limited. Knowledge regarding social processes involved in desistance, particularly among ethnic minorities and gang members, is even more limited. As such, scholars cannot yet adequately explain why and how people are able, or not able, to stop committing crimes. This project aims to partially fill this gap in criminological knowledge by addressing the abovementioned research question and focusing on the abovementioned themes. This project has both scientific and societal impact, not least because crime among ethnic minority youth is of public and political concern. The knowledge developed by this project regarding how and why criminals desist their criminal activity is beneficial for crime reduction (see below in SSR).


Interviews with ethnic minority youth will be conducted repeatedly every six months over a period of two years. Interviewees will be selected among young men (both gang members and non-gang members) who have committed crimes and are now trying to desist. The aim of the interviews is to learn from the young men´s experiences with desistance and thus to clarify whether and how they are able, or not able, to reshape their lives and stop committing crimes. Interviews will also illuminate social processes of both desistance and non-desistance and subjective/internal and structural/external factors relevant to these processes. Finally, interviews with both gang members and non-gang members will provide material to help clarify any variations in their desistance processes.

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