Crime and Deviance - Subcultural Approach


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Crime and Deviance - Subcultural Approach

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Crime and Deviance - Subcultural Approach

  1. 1. IME CR & EV D CE AN I
  2. 2. Re-cap of functionalist view and intro to subcultural •
  3. 3. Subcultural Theories • Subcultural theories argue that certain groups develop norms and values that are different from those held by other member of society. • How good is your knowledge of some wellknown subcultures? • How many can you recognise on the following slides?
  4. 4. Question… • What were these groups rejecting?
  5. 5. Subcultures • Stanley Cohen (British sociologist) – not to be confused with Albert K Cohen (USA Sociologist) performed studies on the Mods and Rockers in the 1960s and 1970s and found that the media had a significant part to play in amplifying deviance which in turn created more Mods and Rockers and more violence.
  6. 6. Albert K Cohen • What we are really interested in today though, is the work of Albert K Cohen. • In 1955, Albert Cohen published Delinquent Boys: The Culture of the Gangs
  7. 7. Rise of Delinquent Subculture • After World War II, and with the country returning to normalcy, Americans were possessed once again by the "American Dream.“ • People believed that a prosperous future could be attained by education and employment. • Values that emphasized ambition and material success became dominant, and anything else was not accepted as normal. • Behind this promising climate, however, a great fear about a rise in juvenile delinquency lurked.
  8. 8. The Delinquent Subculture • Cohen’s work is a modification of Merton’s position and of the Chicago School’s work on social disorganisation. • From his studies on delinquency, Cohen makes two criticisms of Merton’s work: 1. Delinquency is a collective, not individual response 2. Merton fails to account for non-utilitarian crime such as vandalism and joy riding that produces no monetary reward.
  9. 9. A Working Class Problem • In "Delinquent Boys," Cohen asserted that "the delinquent subculture was mostly to be found in the working class"(Cohen, 1955:73).
  10. 10. Albert K Cohen (1950s) • According to Cohen when groups of working class youths’ realise they are unable to achieve the goals (success) of society through legitimate means they develop statusfrustration. • Goals are rejected and new and deviant goals, norms and values are created and a delinquent subculture is formed.
  11. 11. Albert K Cohen • Delinquent subcultures are formed mainly amongst working class boys where material deprivation and cultural deprivation leads to educational failure. • This failure can be explained by their position in the social structure. • Stuck at the bottom, they experience status frustration and dissatisfation.
  12. 12. Albert K Cohen • The delinquent subculture not only rejects the mainstream culture, it reverses it. • Activities condemned in the wider society have high value within the subculture: stealing, vandalism, truancy etc. • Where youths may not gain prestige from peers in mainstream, they do get prestige from subcultural peers. Gang / Delinquency in London
  13. 13. Gang / Delinquency in London • Published on Jul 14, 2012 • Over 190 different gangs are engaged in battles across London's poorest areas. Gang members are getting increasingly younger. This video asks - why is a highly developed country losing control of its youth? • Watch the following video. What are some the reasons the young people give for deviant culture. What are the effects?
  14. 14. Subcultural/Structuralist • Merton and Cohen both start from a structuralist perspective – viewing deviance as a result of unequal access to opportunity. • Cohen, however, departs from the structural view when he sees deviance as originating from subcultural values and not society’s. • His theory can be seen as a combination of interactionist and structuralist.
  15. 15. Criticisms of Cohen • Too focussed upon work class deliquency • Stephen Box claims that rather feeling shame and guilt at their own failure, youths feel resentment against teachers and middle-class youths whose values they do not share, and who look down upon them.
  16. 16. Opportunity Theory • Sociologists Richard Cloward and Lloyd Ohlin (1960) suggested that for deviance to occur, people must have access to illegitimate opportunity structures: – Circumstances that provide an opportunity for people to acquire through illegitimate activities what they cannot achieve through legitimate channels.
  17. 17. Subcultures • Cloward and Ohlin identify 3 different types of subculture: 1. Criminal emerge in areas where there is an established pattern of organised adult crime. Children learn from their parents and are concerned with utilitarian crime – financial reward.
  18. 18. 2. Conflict develop in areas where adolescents have little opportunity for access to illegitimate opportunity structures. Lack of cohesiveness. Response is often gang violence. 3. Retreatist some lower class adolescents form subcultures around illegal drug use because they have failed to succeed in both the legitimate and illegitimate structures. Double failures – as they have failed in terms of criminal and conflict subcultures.
  19. 19. Criticism of Cloward and Ohlin • They haven’t provided a convincing explanation for every type of deliquency • Taylor, Walton and Young argue that some subcultures are not reacting to their own failure, but still reject the norms and values of mainstream society – for example hippies who reject the goal of financial success.