Neoliberalism, urban growth, and structures of inequality : community-based strategies to combat gang violence in El Salvador



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This thesis analyzes the infamous Mara Salvatruchas (MS-13) in Central America, an international gang that has become increasingly powerful and violent. I will examine the cycle of violence perpetuated by the urban structure in Central America, which is characterized by economic and social segregation and sometimes violent oppression, resulting in part from neoliberal economic policies. I will critically review a variety of current MS-13 interventions in El Salvador and elsewhere, and examine how policies have impacted the growth of this international threat. Successful examples of community-based gang interventions, specifically targeted to reach youth, will be examined to determine important components of effective, bottom-up gang interventions that may be applied in El Salvador.