A2 Sociology AQA Spec - Crime and deviance (Subcultural Theories)

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SubCultural Theories
Haralambos Page 356 02/02/04
Handbook Page 57
SubCulture = small culture within a culture. It is an explanation which says
certain groups hold different values to the rest of society.
Synoptic Link to Education = Willis Learning to Labour, counterschool
A.K. Cohen
Criticises Merton.
People who suffer from status frustration make a collective
response, i.e. Willis' 'Lads'.
Says working class kids suffer from status frustration they can't get
the high status they want because they don't have the same
opportunities as other people or the academic advantage.
Therefore they make a collective response turn round the norms and
values and get status their own way.
They not only face this problem in school but in the work place as well.
Therefore they join a delinquent subculture.
They resolve their status frustration by doing things that don't get the
money but get them status within their peer group. I.e. joyriding,
smashing up phone boxes etc...
Delinquent subcultures reverse mainstream culture.
Structural theory not everyone has equal opportunities, the focus is
on lower working class boys.
Focuses only on working class boys.
Follows some criticisms of Merton.
Not all working class boys do badly in school.
Not all who do badly in school turn to crime.
Argues that, yes working class boys get less status and resent it, but
they do not all reject mainstream values.
Haralambos Page 358
Handbook page 58
Cloward and Ohlin 1962
Legitimate opportunity structure people have the opportunities
doing things legal.
Illegitimate opportunity structure people can make a living out of
illegal activities, i.e. criminal organisations.
There can be thriving adult criminal groups which influence younger
people/children in certain areas but not in others.
Established organised crime = learning environment for the young.

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Cloward and Ohlin}
3 different sorts of subcultures:
1. Criminal organised crime provided opportunities for the
young. It exposes different values and introduces now role
models. Also a possible career in hierarchy of crime. Based on
money business. 'Utilitarian crime'
2. Conflict no opportunity structure for legitimate/illegitimate.
Area of high population turnover which leads to anger and
frustration which leads to gang violence. Status comes from
fighting complex social structures within gangs.
3.…read more

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Search for excitement stimulation, i.e. gambling, drinking
etc... It is an escape from the boring factory work.
Focal concerns in the adult world become exaggerated in
Miller is talking about the whole of the working class having this
Notes that delinquency of juveniles has support of the adult world.
Suggests lower class culture is completely separate from
However there is some evidence to support Miller's view Gill
Luke Street Liverpool.…read more

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Victimised by crime therefore become fragmented and conflict
Type of males adopted by role models are not hardworking fathers
but successful criminals therefore the cycle continues.
If you live in a high crime area, you don't report crime because you are
used to it therefore the crime rate is not accurate. Murray uses
statistics to support his case however they may not be valid.
What stops people committing crime?
Fear of being caught.
Fear of punishment.…read more

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Conventional values are important and have an influence.
Techniques of Neutralisation excuses, why its ok to commit a
1. Denial of responsibility.
2. Denial of injury.
3. Denial that the act is wrong.
4. Condemnation of those who support the rules, i.e. attack on
5. Appeal to higher loyalties.
Subterranean Values = underground.
Everyone in mainstream society have subterranean values but they
are controlled by formal values. I.e.…read more

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Only those on the margins of society are not 'locked in' by ideology of
finance and thus are able to provide some sort of resistance to
Single largest group offering their resistance is working class youth.
Resistance is expressed through working class youth subcultures.
Brake 1980
Their clothes and demur show their disdain of capitalism.
However this resistance is best seen as 'magical'.…read more


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