Unsuspected: The U.S. Military's Unintended Contribution to Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs [open pdf - 826KB]
From the Thesis Abstract: "Active-duty military members and veterans (MIL/VETs) are joining, facilitating, and creating outlaw motorcycle gangs in search of a familiar social identity. MIL/VETs' advantageous skill sets, and their international deployments, are helping outlaw motorcycle gangs expand beyond law enforcement's ability to interdict them. In an effort to understand why some MIL/VETs join outlaw motorcycle gangs, this thesis analyzed publicly available information, and the author's personal experience as a gang investigator, through social identity theory and the social identity analytical method. The research found that outlaw motorcycle gang culture takes advantage of concepts such as patron-client relationships, challenge-response cycles, and honor challenges to provide MIL/VETs a limited good--a positive social identity--through its pseudo-warfare environment. The research also identified that MIL/VETs have specific motivations for seeking a positive identity through motorcycle gangs, including a desire to expand the criminal tradecraft, redeem regrets or missed opportunities from their military service, seek post-military employment, or address identity deficits. The findings in this thesis, along with additional research into these motivations, will contribute to the study of outlaw motorcycle gang culture and may help illuminate suitable alternatives to offer MIL/VETs."
Naval Postgraduate School, Dudley Knox Library: https://calhoun.nps.edu/