Sociology Subcultural Strain Theories of Crime & Deviance 3 (Miller)

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  • Subcultural Strain Theories of Crime & Deviance 3 (Miller)
    • Miller (1958): Focal Concerns
      • Walter Miller argued that lower classes create their different value system (focal concerns) as a response to the monotony of working class jobs
        • Miller argued working class boys become delinquent because they grow up in a subculture with these values so they are more likely to break the law
          • Therefore, their deviance is a result of their socialisation
      • Focal concerns
        • Trouble (getting into and staying out of it)
        • Fate (things happen to you that is beyond your control, nothing can be done to change that,)
        • Excitement (boredom so it is important to search out thrills)
        • Autonomy (resentment of authority and rules)
        • Smartness (a person should both look good and also be witty with street sense)
        • Toughness (being physically stronger than others and ability to demonstrate this is particularly important)
    • Miller Evaluation
      • Feminists would argue that Miller focal concerns theory gives WC men excuses to commit crimes against women as they may argue that it is a result of the toughness of excitement focal concern
      • Strengths
        • Unlike other strain theorists, Miller does not consider delinquency as a result of people's inability to achieve status through legitimate ways. Instead his focus is on the assumption that there are different sets of values that exist amongst different social classes
      • Weaknesses
        • Miller focuses too much on the lower WC focal concerns and does not explain why not all WC people resort to delinquency


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