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Frederic Thrasher

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Frederic Milton Thrasher (18921962) was a sociologist at the University of Chicago.
He was a colleague of Robert E. Park and was one of the most prominent members of
the Chicago School of Sociology in the 1920s.
Thrasher was born in Shelbyville, Indiana in 1892; he graduated B.A. from DePauw
University in 1916 in social psychology; he then did an MA in 1918, at Chicago with a
thesis on "The Boy Scout Movement as A Socializing Agency." He then took a PhD in
Chicago in 1926, on Gangs. Thrasher's epic work: The Gang: a study of 1313 gangs in
Chicago, was published in 1927. It said that "neighborhoods in transition are breeding
grounds for gangs." Thrashers work on gangs was one of a series of outstanding
doctoral studies completed under Robert E. Parks direction in the "golden era" of the
University of Chicago Sociology Department.
"Isolation is common to almost every vocational, religious or cultural group of a large
city. Each develops its own sentiments, attitudes, codes, even its own words, which are
at best only partially intelligible to others." (Thrasher, 1927)
In the 1930s he then moved to New York, where he taught at the Steinhardt School of
Education of New York University, becoming Professor of educational sociology and
retiring in 1959. While there he initiated a media studies programme where he began a
series of studies of the effects of motion pictures on children. His courses on the subject
were path breaking, including a course, begun in 1934, named The Motion Picture: Its
Artistic, Educational and Social Aspects. He also served widely as a consultant to
groups concerned with motion pictures, crime, prison reform, and prevention of juvenile
delinquency.
"An immigrant colony...is itself an isolated social world...the gang boy moves only in
his own universe and other regions are clothed in nebulous mystery...he knows little of
the outside world." (Thrasher, 1927)

Publications[edit]

1927: The Gang: A Study of 1,313 Gangs in Chicago, University of Chicago


Press, ISBN 9780226799308

1931: "Social Attitudes of Superior Boys in an Interstitial Community" In K.


Young (ed) Social Attitudes. New York: Henry Holt (1931): 236-264.

1933: Juvenile delinquency and crime prevention. Journal of Educational


Sociology, 6, 500-509

1935: Young Lonigan: A Boyhood in Chicago Streets by James T Farrell, with an


Introduction by Frederic M. Thrasher. Vanguard Books. First edition, with an
additional Introduction by Robert Morss Lovett

1946: Okay for Sound: How the Screen Found its Voice, New York: Duell, Sloan
and Pearce

1949: "The Comics and Delinquency: Cause or Scapegoat," 23 J. Educ.


Sociology 195 (1949)

1954: Do the Crime Comic Books Promote Juvenile Delinquency? The


Congressional Digest, 33(12), December

See also[edit]

Chicago school (sociology)

Robert E. Park

External links[edit]

A bibliography on the sociological study of Gangs

A 1923-26 map of Chicago gangs made by Thrasher

Useful background to his teaching at New York University

Young Lords Origins

Authority control

WorldCat

VIAF: 29609914

LCCN: n90721901

ISNI: 0000 0000 8108 4939

GND: 1055111077

SUDOC: 075426269

BNF: cb12358539b (data)

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