Subculture Strain Theory

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  • Created by: Ja11en
  • Created on: 18-03-15 13:49
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  • Subculture strain theories
    • Introduction
      • See deviance as the product of a delinquent subculture with different values from mainstream society
    • Cohen: Status Frustration
      • Agrees with Merton that deviance is largely a lower-class phenomenon.
      • Merton sees deviance as an individual response to strain - Ignoring that deviance is committed in/by groups
      • Merton focuses on utilitarian crime committed for material gain
        • Ignores crimes such as vandalism and assault
      • Boys suffer status frustration when they don't achieve
      • Resolve their frustration by rejecting mainstream middle-class values and turn to others in same situation
    • Alternative Status Hierarchy
      • Offers boys an alternative status hierarchy in which they can achieve
      • Cohen's theory offers an explanation of utilitarian crimes unlike Merton
        • Cohen ignores that boys might have not shared the same goals in the first place
      • Delinquent Subcultures invert values of mainstream society
        • Regular attendance vs. Vandalising Property
      • Create illegitimate means so they can win status from delinquent actions
    • Cloward and Ohlin: 3 Subcultures
      • Criminal Subcultures
        • Provide youths with an apprenticeship for a career in utilitarian crime.
      • Conflict Subcultures
        • Arise in areas of high population turnover. Results in high levels of social disorganisation
          • Absense of criminal network allows illegitimate opportunities
      • Retreatist Subcultures
        • "Double failures" People who have failed legitimately and illegitimately
          • Illegal drug use groups
    • Evaluation
      • Too deterministic.
      • Ignores the wider power structure including who makes and enforces the law
      • Unlike Cohen, they provide an explanation for different types of working-class deviance
      • They draw boundaries too sharply between different types.
        • Could be involved in more than one subculture
      • Not all members are frustrated by failure - Some just try again
      • Matza claims that most delinquents are not committed to subculture but drift in and out of delinquency
      • Strain theory has had a major influence both on later theories of crime and on government policy
  • Alternative Status Hierarchy
    • Offers boys an alternative status hierarchy in which they can achieve
    • Cohen's theory offers an explanation of utilitarian crimes unlike Merton
      • Cohen ignores that boys might have not shared the same goals in the first place
    • Delinquent Subcultures invert values of mainstream society
      • Regular attendance vs. Vandalising Property
    • Create illegitimate means so they can win status from delinquent actions

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