Theoretical Views of Working Class & Crime (Theories)

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  • Theoretical Views of Working Class & Crime (Theories)
    • Strain & Anomie (Merton)
      • Blocked opportunities in society can lead to innovation to achieve success
    • Subcultural Theories (Cohen, Cloward & Ohlin, Miller
      • Status frustration, focal concerns of lower WC culture and search for peer group status generate delinquent subcultures
    • Marxist/Neo Marxist Theories (Gordon, Chambliss, Box, Snider, Gilroy, Taylor, Watson & Young, Hall
      • Criminogenic capitalism, crime as a rational response to social inequality and social deprivation, selective law enforcement, crime as a resistance to capitalism, distraction from white collar and crimes of the powerful
    • Labelling Theory (Becker, Cicourel, Lemert)
      • WC offenders are more likely to be labelled criminal and to have the law selectively enforced against them
    • Left Realism (Lea & Young, Young)
      • Relative deprivation, marginalisation and subcultures combine to generate crime in a media saturated, consumer led society from which lower classes are socially excluded and in which they lack legitimate opportunities to access the consumer lifestyle they crave
    • Right Realism / Rational Choice and Opportunity / New Right (Murray, Clarke)
      • Inadequate / poor socialisation by welfare dependant workshy underclass combines with lack of community controls to make crime a rational choice in deprived communities
    • Postmodernism (Lea, Henry & Milovanovic, Katz, Lyng)
      • Crime (harm to others) is committed for the pleasure, excitement and thrills derived edgework in otherwise boring lives arising from social exclusion
    • Evaluation of These Theories
      • Weaknesses
        • These explanations of crime don't give any reason why people in the same situations in the poorest sections of the WC do not turn to crime
        • There is widespread evidence of crime committed by members of other social classes which may be undetected and unrecorded
        • Critics such as Hall (2008) have argued that there is no straightforward statistical relationship between factors such as poverty, unemployment, the economy and crime rates
        • Millers work is very dated so may not be relevant anymore
        • Murray's ideas have been undermined by lack of empirical evidence
  • *Theory*
    • *Main causes of crime amongst the working class*

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