Subcultural Theories spider diagram

summary of the main approaches

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  • Created by: LC73102
  • Created on: 26-09-13 09:53
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  • Subcultural Theories
    • Strain Theory (Merton)
      • Funtionalist
      • For Merton crime and deviance were evidence for the poor fit/strain between the socially approved goals and the approved means of getting them.
        • This Strain leads to deviancy.
      • Merton argued that all society's set out certain goals for its members and approved means of achieving them. But Merton argued that not everyone has the same goals and in a stratified society goals are linked to a persons position in the social structure.
        • Those lower down in the social structure have restricted goals.
        • This system works well as long as the majority of people have a reasonable chance of achieving the goals.
        • However if people are unable to achieve the goals they find alternative/deviant ways of behaving
      • The 5 forms of behaviour are understood as strain between goals and means:
        • Conformity
        • Innovation
        • Ritualism
        • Retreatism
        • Rebellion
      • Valier (2001) criticised merton by argueing that there are not common goals, but a variety of goals that all people strive to attain.
    • Illegitimate opportunity structure (Cloward and Ohlin)
      • Cloward and Ohlin argued that Merton had failed to appreciate that there was a parallel opportunity structure called the illegitimate opportunity structure.
        • By this they meant that for some, an illegal career was available with illegal means of obtaining society's goals.
      • According to Cloward and Ohlin the Illegal opportunity structure had 3 possible subcultures.
        • Criminal
        • Conflict
        • Retreatist
      • This explanation is useful as Hobbs' work shows that there is a criminal opportunity structure.
      • There is no discussion about female deviancy. And it is difficult to accept that the 3 categories are clear in real life.
    • Status Frustration (Cohen)
      • According to Cohen 'lower-class' boys strove to copy the middle class values but lacked the means to reach success.
        • This lead to Status Frustration - the sense of personal failure.
      • Because the boys fail to achieve the status of the middle class they reject their ideas altogether.
        • He argued that school was a key factor in this - lower class children are more likely to fail and feel humiliated, so in an attempt to gain status they turn to deviancy.
      • There is no discussion of female delinquency, the young delinquants might not know the different between W/C and M/C values, Cohen fails to prove that school is a key place where success and failure are demonstrated.
    • Focal Concerns (Miller)
      • In the late 50's Miller suggested that deviancy was linked to the culture of lower class males.
      • He suggested that working class males have '6 focal concerns' that ate likely to lead to delinquency.
        • Smartness
        • Trouble
        • Excitement
        • Toughness
        • Autonomy
        • Fate
      • According to Miller working class males are likely to turn to crime because of the values of their subculture.
      • Bpx pointed that the Focal concerns could be applied right across the class structure.
      • Howard applied Millers focal concerns to a study of W/C 'lads'. However Downes found no evidence of distinct values.
    • Subterranean Values (Matza)
      • Matza argued that there were no subcultural values. instead he argued that there were a set of Subterranean Values that all groups in society shared.
      • Key to his theory is that most people control their delinquent desires, but when they do emerge we use techniques of neutralization to provide justification for these deviant acts;


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