Sharmaine Jackson’s areas of expertise include urban ethnography, youth street gangs and subcultures, violence and the state, deviance, and Australian racial and ethnic relations. The overarching theme of her research is on violence and social control. Whether located in its historical origins, present manifestations, or future possibilities, Sharmaine is interested in uncovering the mechanisms that facilitate, hinder, or transform the structural, cultural, and socio-psychological conditions of violence. Furthermore, her research encompasses an international perspective focusing on global youth and hip-hop, as carriers of emergent cultural shifts.
Currently, Sharmaine is completing her book, The Unmaking of a Gangbanger. Based upon two years of ethnographic fieldwork, her book uncovers a youth-initiated alternative practice to gangbanging – krump dancing. Originating in South Central Los Angeles, krump dancing spread internationally, via social media, and is now practiced by urban at-risk youth around the globe. By transposing street gang rituals into the dance, krumpers successfully negotiate the “code” by creating an alternate path for the pursuit of respect – one that is free of violence. Sharmaine’s future research looks at the impact of urbanization on the moral order of communities and youth cultures located in the American South.
Sharmaine holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine; a Juris Doctor from Rutgers Law School; and a BA in Women’s Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder.