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Subcultural Theories:
Subcultural theories of deviance explain it in terms of the subculture of a
particular social group. Certain groups develop norms and values, which are
different from those held by other members of society.
Albert Cohen (1955)
Cohen's work modified Merton's position and combined both structural
and subcultural theories of deviance
Cohen criticises two aspects of Merton's theory of workingclass
According to Cohen
o Deviance is a collective rather than an individual response
o Merton ignores nonutilitarian crimes.…read more

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In this situation young people have the opportunity to rise
within the established criminal hierarchy
o Conflict subcultures develop in areas where there is little access to
either legitimate or illegitimate opportunity structures.…read more

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Right Realism/New Right:
Right realists share the New Right and Neoconservative political outlook. They
support policies in place to roll back the welfare state along with the strong
commitment to law enforcement. They take a `tough' outlook on crime, including
using prisons and also a `short, sharp and shocking' approach to dealing with
youth offenders.
Right realists see crime as a real and growing problem that destroys
communities, undermines social cohesion and threatens society's work
ethic.…read more

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Crime is a product of 3 different factors according to right realists Biological
differences, socialisation and the underclass and rational choice to offend.
Biological Differences:
James Q. Wilson & Richard J. Herrnstein (1985).
Biosocial theory of criminal behaviour. In their view crime is caused by a
combination of biological and social factors.
Biological differences make some people inevitably more likely to commit
crime than others. Personality traits such as aggressiveness and
extroversion, risk taking and low impulse put people at a greater risk of
offending.…read more

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Left Realism:
Direct opposite to right realism, key theorist is Jock Young (1980) developed
as a direct response to two main factors:
The need to take the rising crime rate seriously and to produce practical
The influence of right realism on government policies
Much like Marxists left realists see society as capitalist dominated and unequal.
However they are reformist rather than revolutionary sociologists. They believe in
a gradual social change rather than the violent overthrow of capitalism as the
way to achieve equality.…read more

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More people are
reporting crime because more people are becoming the victims of crime.
Taking crime seriously also involves recognising who is most affected by crime.
Local crime surveys show that the scale of the problem is even greater than what
is shown by official statistics. They also show that disadvantaged groups have a
greater risk of becoming victims, especially of burglary, street crime and
violence. Unskilled workers are twice as likely to be burgled as other people.…read more


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