1“Believing they come from one of the toughest areas in town holds greatadvantage for the Boys. They gain dignity and stature and a sense ofimportance from such an image. Hence some comments made by ‘the boys’from another area about not wanting ‘no trouble with you lot’ is seizedupon and repeated continuously till everyone has bathed in the glory.”An extract from Parker’s (1992) study of downtown male adolescents,known as ‘the Boys’ who lived in Roundhouse in Liverpool.2Paul Willis (1977) studied a group of 12 non-academic, white working class‘lads’ in a Midlands school. The ‘lads’ were anti-school and part of acounter-school culture which involved completely opposing the values ofthe school. They opposed authority and rejected the conformist boys inthe school, who they referred to as the ‘ear’oles’.3Albert Cohen argued that working class boys joined delinquentsubcultures to gain status within their peer group.4Cloward and Ohlin describe ‘conflict subcultures’ as loosely organisedgangs where violence provides a release for young men’s frustration attheir blocked opportunities, as well as an alternative source of statusthat they can earn by winning ‘turf’ (territory) from rival gangs.5Walter B Miller argues that the lower class has its own independentsubculture separate from mainstream culture, with its own values.
6The Crips are a mainly African American gang. They were founded in LosAngeles, California in 1969. The Crips are one of the largest and mostviolent street gangs in the United States, with an estimated 30,000 to35,000 members.The gang is known to be involved in murders, robberies, and drug dealing,among many other criminal pursuits.The gang is known for its gang members use of the colour blue in theirclothing. However, this practice has become less common due to policecrackdowns on gang members.Crips are publicly known to have an intense and bitter rivalry with theBloods and lesser feuds with some Chicano gangs.7“I was in prison for selling drugs. Its the area I live in, its what it is. Iwas skiving school, seeing people with flashy cars and that. I thought Iwant that lifestyle, and so I did it. You never speak to anyone in anothergang or from another area. It would have kicked off. One time in a clubsome Meadows lads came in and saw some St Anns lads, then it kickedoff. I heard some people got stabbed and some people got shot. It wasjust life to me.”(Dean, an ex gang member, taken from Radio 1 Newsbeat website, 31st Jan2011)
Notes for Teachers – Some characteristics of subculturesLinked to a particular area/territoryConcerned with status/glory (discuss Cohen’s ‘status frustration’)Rebellious – non-conformist, anti-school etcDifferent values to the rest of societyYoung (w/c) men?