3. Subcultural Theory of Crime

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  • Subcultural Crime Theory
    • Cohen: Status Frustration
      • w/classgroup based delinquency
      • w/classnot adequatley socialised into necessary norms for academic success
      • alternative status hierarchy: different way of gaining status and power rejects mainstream values and inverts them
      • studies college boys and corner boys
      • Strengths: underlying cause of some crimes. explains crime ignored by other theories
      • Weaknesses: doesn'texplain m/classand female crime. little evidence for status frustration
    • Cloward & Ohlin: Legitimate opportunity structure
      • illegitimate opportunity structure runs alongside legitimate one. not accessible to everyone
      • 3 tupes of subculture: criminal; conflict;retreats.
      • Strengths: explains group based crime e.g. crocky crew. highlights inequality in terms of the types of crime people commit
      • Weaknesses: not always possible to categorise criminal groups.doesnt explain m/classcrime.
    • Miller: Focal Concerns
      • w/classfollow certain normal values which brought them into conflict with wider society
      • delinquency widespread amongst w/class.
      • focal concerns; trouble;toughness; smartness; excitement; fate; autonomy.
      • Parker: w/classlads on a night out & found evidence of focal concerns
    • Brake: Magical solution
      • do not offer anything to solve class structure of society;rebellion makes them feel better about the situation
      • resistance throughstyle expressed throughw/classyouths.
      • E.G skin heads and teddy boys
    • Neo-Marxist theory
      • subconscious rebellion against capitalism.
      • w/classyouths exploited by capitalism. part of the class struggle so they show active distain for them
      • youths are the least tied down group in society
      • Strengths: explains underlying deeper meanings behind subcultural styles
      • Weaknesses: CCCS may misinterpret meaning behind style of youth subcultures. theory is impossible to prove.
    • Matza: Subteranean Values
      • Sociallyapproves value: we express these in public
      • Subteranean values: these aren't sociallyapproved
      • techniques of neutralisation: denial of responsibility; of victim; of injury; condmnation of condemners and apprealto higher loyalties.


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